Taking the time to care
In 2011 Brian was diagnosed with dementia. Last summer he died after being in long-term care (LTC) for 4 1/2 years. I tried my hardest to care for him at home but Lewy Body Dementia defeated us.
I will always feel guilty: nearly 20 years ago I retired from my working life as a therapist which included visiting residents in LTC. I knew how unhappy he would be there.
I was right. Little had changed in the quality of life of the residents: the way staff worked was still hierarchical, the medical model firmly in place. Care plans barely took into account the life experience, interests and personality of the resident. Front line staff did their very best but were dominated and constrained by “Ministry” regulations.
The time is rapidly approaching when I and thousands of “baby boomers” may need a place in LTC.
Culture change is needed now and is possible through putting each resident’s emotional and social needs at the core of their care. Change: to make living spaces home like and comfortable; time filled with companionship and meaningful activity, change to give staff the time and satisfaction of taking care of a resident known for who they were and are now.
Should I need a place in LTC I don’t want to be in a home where I am kept alive: I want to be helped to live.
Submitted by Janet