Working With Care Facility Staff

Working With Care Facility Staff

When advising the elderly or their family members with regard to long-term care, you may want to consider providing counsel as to what your client can expect when interacting with staff members at a long-term care facility.
Initially, completing the necessary paperwork ahead of the move will allow the transition to the facility to occur with a minimum of stress. Residents and their family members can see the room ahead of time, and perhaps even measure it to figure out what personal possessions will fit. The care facility can advise as to the types of belongings (such as expensive jewelry or antiques) that are not allowed for security reasons. You may want to suggest that the person entering the facility be permitted to decide what to take and what to do with possessions that must be left behind. Personal possessions, such as clothing, should be marked to avoid mix-ups and theft.
Any information given to the staff at the care facility will improve the chances of a smooth transition for the resident. Detailed information the staff will need includes:
  • Medical needs and medications, with a detailed medical history
  • Any emotional problems, such as grief over a recent death
  • Routines and likes and dislikes regarding food and so forth
  • A list of close family and friends, with contact info
 
Care Planning Process
Within the first couple of weeks of residence, a care planning team will be formed to make a baseline assessment of the new resident’s medical and emotional needs. The care planning team will likely include the following:
  • Doctors and nurses
  • Social workers
  • Dietitians
  • Physical, occupational and/or recreational therapists
 
It's important for a family member or other loved one to participate with this team and attend meetings, giving them as much information as possible regarding the new resident, as there is information that only family members/close friends have. Your client should be encouraged to provide long lists as to the habits and routines of the new resident and what makes him or her comfortable when stressed.
After a baseline assessment, the care planning team will come up with an individualized formal care plan outlining the specific care the new resident will receive and how that care will be carried out. Under federal law, a long-term care facility must work at improving residents' lives where possible, and the care plan should be aimed at maintaining or improving functional capacities. The care plan becomes part of the resident’s legal contract with the facility and should be as detailed as possible.
Federal law also requires the long-term care facility to review the care plan every three months, or sooner if the resident’s condition changes. It's important for family members to attend review meetings and participate by describing any changes in capabilities or orientation they have noticed since the last assessment.
Family members should also be encouraged to visit their loved one regularly to make sure the care facility is following through on details of the care outlined in the plan. Your client can make the biggest difference in his or her family member's quality of life by being a strong advocate on his or her behalf. You should also advise your client to seek your guidance if he or she feels that the plan is not being followed appropriately.