McDonald, T. A., 2006
RCNA Conference, Cairns Queensland
Background: Older adults in residential aged care facilities, particularly those in dementia-care units, face difficulty being recognised for who they are rather than for their dominant morbidity. Many aspects of identity that are commonplace among younger adults can be overlooked in an aged care context. For residents the importance of an integrated self-concept that is recognised by those around them relates to ongoing mental health. By building on a resident’s accumulation of a life history rich in experience and personal achievement, positive connections between staff, residents and families can be facilitated.
Objective: The aim was to promote dementia intervention effectiveness within multi-occupational aged care teams working with a social model of care, a clearly articulated life history for mentally confused residents can be used to inform staff of residents’ personal achievements and values.
Methods: Admission information contains personal information gathered from residents and families but is spread throughout the person’s case notes and is time-consuming to locate.
Personal history pages, filed in case notes, enables all staff, including agency nurses and visiting professionals, to readily know the person with whom they are speaking, despite residents not being in a position to initiate or correct this information.
Results: Staff responses analysed: Improved insights into individual resident behaviours; ability to initiate personalised conversation with resident; establishment and maintenance of an informed relationship with each resident; an appreciation of the value system by which each resident has lived their life and more accurate anticipation of resident’s personal preferences in care.
Conclusions: Nursing therapeutic interventions for residents with depression, delirium, dementia and cognitive decline can be enhanced through easy access to an overview of a resident’s life history within a social model of care. This strategy enhances insights into ‘who the person is’ and places ‘what the person may be limited by’ in a more balanced context.
CITATION McDonald, T (2006) POSITIVE CONNECTIONS: A strengths-based approach to staff-resident interactions. Royal College of Nursing Australia Annual Conference, Cairns International Hotel, Cairns Queensland. 12-14 July.