Many Aging Services leaders are working tirelessly to maintain and even rebuild a positive culture within their care communities. The question is whether this is possible to do during a lingering pandemic? A McKnight's Long-Term Care News article opined that it is possible, in spite of a pandemic.
Author Walter Coffey offers these comments that I find worthy to re-share.
His article begins with shocking and disturbing rumblings that nursing homes should resume the institutional model of care to be more prepared for the next pandemic. In addition to the fact that this is not a viable solution, Mr. Coffey points out that thirty years of work toward de-institutionalizing the care for elders would only serve to de-humanize older people and those that work for them.
Mr. Coffey offers some "back to basics" thoughts to ponder.
1. Re-frame the fear-based thinking to that of "genuine care." This means helping our elders grow, and there is more to care than just the physical. Understanding the person-centered spiritual needs of elders in care helps us break out of the physical-care-only mind set.
2. Be in a relationship with elders in our care. During the pandemic, staff who worked in organizations that consider themselves to be person-centered reported that they had a huge advantage during COVID-19. They said it was easier to anticipate needs because of their relationship-based care philosophy.
3. Empower the staff. This allows the teams to be flexible in making daily decisions with the residents. De-centralized decision making puts residents more in control of their lives.
Much appreciation to Mr. Coffey, a gerontologist who has served in leadership roles throughout the spectrum of aging services, and is an international leader in the culture change movement.