Providing the right level of care is essential. When a resident stays at your assisted living facility for months or years, the level of care that’s needed may change. Although this is to be expected, it can be a sensitive issue for residents and their families, so it’s important to manage the situation carefully and compassionately.
Over time, a resident’s needs will likely change. This can be gradual, or it can be sudden. Changes that can trigger the need for more care include the following:
Professionals who deal with the care needs of older adults can become desensitized to these circumstances. However, it’s important to remind your team to look at these changes from the point of view of the resident.
Falls are a good example of this. According to an article in Today’s Geriatric Medicine, the emotional aftermath of a fall can be just as devastating as the physical toll.
A resident who experiences a sudden and unexpected deterioration in health may struggle to accept required lifestyle alterations. Older adults may also react with anger and denial to more gradual changes in their health and care needs.
To ensure that the resident’s needs are fully met, ask the following questions:
Also consider how these changes will impact the resident. Will they have to leave behind friends when they move to another facility or even just another part of the current facility? Will they have to give up freedom, autonomy, or space?
Good communication is essential. However, it’s important to understand that even if the changes are in the resident’s best interest, they may not be welcome news. Be sensitive about the situation and how it may impact the resident and their family.
Residents and their families may have many concerns, for example:
When discussing the need for more care, it’s important to be transparent, respectful, and compassionate.
Share books, organizations, and other resources to help residents and their families deal with both emotional and financial challenges. While keeping details and identities private, share stories of other residents who have successfully transitioned to new levels of care. Inspire confidence and let them know they aren’t alone.
Additionally, it’s important to train employees how to deliver bad news. A conscious effort should be made to strike the right tone and establish the right environment. Provide your team with research and best practices for managing difficult conversations.
For example, the ABCDE model, developed by Rabow and McPhee, provides a framework for delivering bad news:
For more information on the ABCDE model and how it can be applied, see Breaking Bad News by Gregg K. Vandekieft, M.D. from American Family Physician.
A resident’s care needs will change over time. Managing this progression effectively is essential for the wellbeing of the resident. It’s also an important part of your facility’s risk management.
Does your organization have the risk management resources you need to reach your next level of performance? The team at PCALIC can help. We have been providing insurance and risk solutions to the personal assisted living community for 20 years. Contact us to learn more.
How to Manage the Progression of Resident Care Needs, Tangram Insurance Services, https://www.tangramins.com/how-to-manage-the-progression-of-resident-care-needs/