Ensuring Long-Term Care Residents and Family Feel Respected and Heard

It is critical to make sure that Long-Term Care residents and their families feel respected and heard. Long-Term Care Homes are many people’s homes and feeling at home means being respected as an individual and being able to voice your opinions and feel that others are hearing them. So how can this be ensured among Long-Term Care Homes across the province? The first item is to involve residents and families in conversations about the care the resident is receiving.

Actively involving residents and their families in discussions surrounding their care is critical in making them feel they are respected and heard. The care each resident receives should be tailored to their needs and wants, and these needs and wants can only be identified by engaging in conversations with the parties who will be affected. It is also vital that they are actively involved in the process. A care plan should not be created and then shown to residents and their families, and instead, they should be involved in each step of the planning process.

Another way one can ensure that residents and their families are respected and heard is by listening to any complaints and actively attempting to correct the issues at hand. It is one thing to listen to a complaint a resident or their family may have and not follow through, but it is another thing to listen to the complaint and do everything you can to correct it. It shows residents that what they care about is important to the staff and the Long-Term Care Home.

Additionally, recognizing that residents are individuals whose conditions or diseases should not define them can help ensure that residents and their families are respected and heard. This relates to person-centred care and language, but this must be practiced. Residents are much more than their conditions and have qualities that staff and Long-Term Care Homes should be aware of.

It is also imperative to make sure families of residents include those that a resident qualifies as family. Family is not just those they are biologically related to, but it can be their friends or anyone they would like to be part of their care in Long-Term Care Homes. We also need to ensure that these individuals are actively involved and notified of anything relating to the resident or the Long-Term Care Home in which the resident lives. Families and friends want to do whatever they can to ensure the resident receives the care they should be and are entitled to.

There are so many different ways to make sure residents and their families are respected and heard. The ways outlined above are just a few ways to approach this, but there are many more. The critical aspects of involving residents and families in creating care plans, actively trying to resolve any complaints they may have, using person-centered language, and that families are actively engaged, and that family is not just someone biologically related to the resident. These steps can immensely help in making a resident and their family feel heard and respected.

Author: D.R. (FCO Placement Student)