Implementing and sustaining evidence-based practices in long-term care.

A creative way to have a difficult conversation

By: Connie Wood, RN, BScN, MN, RNAO Long-Term Care Best Practice Coordinator, Central East Region

Caressant Care McLaughlin, Lindsay

When it comes to caring for residents with kindness and respect, Amber Cockburn chooses to up her game. After doing a gap analysis on RNAO's “Person and Family-Centred Care" guideline and working on sections from the Ontario Association of Resident Councils “Through our eyes,” program binder, Amber became more aware of providing individualised care. As she works with residents and families, Amber now looks for ways to apply best practice and be mindful of the resident’s rights and preferences.

A new admission inspired Amber to get creative, and find ways to support having those hard conversations. A dreadful disease robbed 72-year-old retired nurse Betty* of many things in her life. As a result, she lives at Caressant Care McLaughlin nursing home. During the first few weeks of moving into the home, Amber could see Betty was withdrawn and sad.

“She is a clever woman who needs high-level conversations”, states Amber, “and I needed to find a way to connect with her. “ So, I started a book club. The first book we read was “Tuesdays with Morrie”. By working through each chapter, Amber helped Betty explore her thoughts on life and dying. The book became Amber’s tool to help Betty open up. She believes it helped Betty gain meaning from her life and work through some issues.

The book club is a safe place to exchange and challenge ideas. “It all seems to flow and it gives Betty a voice and a chance to express herself,” remarks Amber. “The talks help Betty intellectually and personally. For myself, I think deeper and we have great laughs,” says Amber.

Amber softens residents' journey of living in a nursing home by hosting book club meetings. For Betty, it made the move to long-term care more bearable.

Amber remains dedicated to providing person and family centred care. Amber collaborates with Connie Wood, the Long Term Care Best Practice Co-ordinator in her region. Jointly, they review the Person and Family-Centred Care best practice guideline with the care team to support practices to enhance resident health and wellness. Amber is also putting into action the program “Through our eyes: Bringing the Residents Bill of Rights Alive.” She sees a strong need to blend best practice with a deeper understanding of the Resident Bill of Rights among caregivers.

Amber is the Activity Director at Caressant Care McLaughlin and an active member of the Palliative Care Network. She works endlessly to support older adults on many levels.

*The name Betty is used to protect resident anonymity.

- About Caressant Care McLaughlin –
Caressant Care McLaughlin, a nursing home located in Lindsay, Ontario is where 96 older adults reside. The activity team provides many creative programs.

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