To assist us in maintaining the communication link with family members, we ask for a primary contact and a second contact to be listed on the Resident's chart. The designated primary contact will be the person that staff will contact about any issues that relate to the Resident such as: a change in their health, care conferences, outings. It is important for the person who is the primary contact to be responsible for keeping other family members informed when contacted by Bethania or Pembina Place staff.
Family and friends can enhance the quality of life of the resident in many ways:
- Take an active interest and participate in assessing, planning, providing, monitoring and evaluating the Resident's care;
- Visit whenever possible;
- Bring young children for visits (Residents love them!)
- Check and replenish wardrobe and toiletries regularly, ask nursing staff for input;
- Respond to information-seeking letters;
- Participate in invited activities;
- Offer suggestions for improvements to care, services and the environment;
- Attend meetings or discussion groups planned for friends/families;
- Support Teas and other special events;
- Bring church bulletins, encourage church members and the clergy to visit;
- Notify staff when you remove or bring in personal belongings;
- Bring a pet for a visit;
- Share a meal with your loved one;
- Discuss concerns with a Nurse and/or the Social Worker.
What must change is your expectations for visits. By accepting the status of your loved one, you will avoid feeling let down, or depressed. Try not to underestimate your loved one’s abilities either. This could cause him or her a loss of self-esteem. Use your judgment and find a realistic balance for your expectations.
The response from the elderly may be less noticeable with Residents who are cognitively impaired.
Visitors may feel discouraged and may even question whether their visits are beneficial.
It is very comforting for a cognitively impaired or confused person to hear a familiar voice and see a familiar face.
Making visits meaningful and pleasurable means that you are more likely to want to return. Visits mean so much to Residents.
They tell us:
it demonstrates that someone still cares;
they are valued as a person;
breaks the monotony, as there is often little communication between Residents;
that being involved in ordinary conversation is stimulating for them – and even gives them something to boast about.
Concerns related to misplaced clothing should be directed to the unit nurse who will initiate a search.
Environmental issues such as electrical, plumbing, structural or mechanical should be directed to the unit nurse who will make a referral to the Maintenance Department.
Menu and diet questions or concerns will be relayed to the Food Services Supervisor or Dietitian.
Financial and business concerns should be directed to the Accounts Receivable Clerk.
While we strive to ensure that all staff work in an ethical, compassionate and caring manner, you may have a concern about an employee you wish to address. Please direct concerns to the employee’s supervisor. If you are not sure who the employee’s supervisor is, please contact the Social Worker for assistance.
Manitoba Health and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority provide mediation assistance in matters of concern for Residents of personal care homes. The Manitoba Health phone number is: 1-888-871-6276 and the WRHA phone number is: 204-926-8067.
Speak normally. You never know when moments of understanding will occur, so speak always on the assumption that you are understood.
Say the things you would have said prior to the onset of impairment.
Don’t use baby talk. Speak respectfully.
Put yourself at eye level with the person you are speaking to.
Be flexible in your conversation and adjust to mood changes.
Validate feelings, emotions or beliefs.
Acknowledge the losses of control of routine, privacy, and identity that come with living in a personal care home.
But don’t dwell on the negative for more than a few minutes.
Identify some positive factors and discuss those as well.
Touch the hand of the person you speak to.
Use physical contact to make a connection (e.g. kiss on the cheek).
Give information freely, but be modest in your expectation for answers.
Follow through on promises.
Residents often remember promises and will feel very let down if they are not kept.
Develop a signal to say “good bye” or “I love you”. (e.g. wave through the window and tug on your ear).
If possible, plan your next visit in accordance with your loved one’s preferences.
He or she may feel more sociable at certain times of the day.
To help bring back memories of shared experiences, use pictures, verbal descriptions and real objects.