It’s safe to say that all senior care facilities aim for the best kind of service they can render to their elderly residents. With everything considered, the community that stands out is almost always the one that consistently comes up with brilliant, better ways to make their residents’ quality of life superior and excellent. One of the ways that they’re able to achieve this is through respite care for elderly patients.
How exactly can senior respite care be improved, especially in the face of a still-raging pandemic? Even the pandemic itself already puts a sizable burden enough on most caregivers, limiting their opportunities to rest and refresh themselves. This, in turn, only puts them at a higher risk of contracting a serious illness that could grind your community to a halt.
With all things considered, these 7 tips could very well provide most of the answers you need.
Be proactive in updating your services and policies with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic:
Whether it’s coming up with better ways to ensure the safety of the elderly undergoing respite care or making sure their policies comply with the state’s own guidelines, facilities should always be honing their respite care guidelines and services. On-going crises require equally adaptable and as much as possible agile solutions.
Facilities need to establish the best and safest scheduling practices. You should also plan how your community will be enforcing the guidelines as well as ensure that any future updates to the guidelines would be easily implemented on an organizational level. Always make a note of the inherent risk of the pandemic, especially in persons rendering and availing of respite care.
Understandably, this is easier said than done as it requires synchronizing everyone, the full-time caregiver, respite caregiver, and the patient. This is why it won’t hurt to focus on our second tip.
Improve your communications, workflow, and overall camaraderie as a community:
If you haven’t been focusing on improving your communications, workflow, and relationships within the community, there’s no better time than now to do so. Spot weak areas that need improvement and think of ways that you can address the problems, if not instantly then over time.
Synchronizing your facility with a respite care provider could be challenging but many facilities have achieved this in their respective communities. They’ve done so through effective policies and maintaining communication lines. But, of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Other solutions that improve workflow include senior living management software that only makes organization and scheduling easier.
Don’t compromise the safety of the elderly and their families:
This may seem like a given already. However, there are times when certain policies might conflict, to the point that one cancels out another, thereby putting everyone at risk.
Certain facilities have made it a point to limit visits to only one person per resident. Can the same policy be applied to respite care for seniors?
Should you limit caregivers to only one per senior as well? Realistically speaking, that’s rarely possible. Again, this highlights the importance of having concrete, viable, and compassionate policies when it comes to respite care.
Focus on being transparent and communicative with your guidelines.:
This will only build the trust that serves as one of the vital foundations of your community. Make them readily known through your main website, for example. Be sure that any changes you make would be easily accessible by the visitor, especially if it’s a critical change that everyone needs to know.
Don’t keep them in the dark about the potential risks involved when they avail of respite care during these times. Ultimately, this underlines the need to be more open with your communication lines, whether it’s between the respite caregiver and you or between the resident and the caregiver.
Actively encourage staff to practice self-care.
Without a doubt, if you had oriented and trained your staff to prioritize caring for themselves as well as caring for others, you don’t even need to inform them about this. If you’d taught them to act independently so as to ensure both, then chances are high that you’d have far fewer respite care-related struggles.
Now is the best time to teach them about its importance, considering you haven’t yet. All the better if you can educate your entire community about what makes respite care different and what its unique benefits are. This would only lend itself to opening everyone’s eyes to the value of respite care.
Always be on the lookout for additional funding sources for respite care.
It could be something with a more comprehensive impact like being active in encouraging better state funding for respite care. This would only aid in addressing the perennial shortages in caregivers that render respite care. Or it could be done on a smaller scale by looking for opportunities within the community or area of the operation itself.
Let’s be real. Without funding, respite care services will never improve, let alone flourish. This is why it’s better to take a pragmatic approach in this regard.
Never stop training and educating people willing to render respite care.
Because chances are high that these individuals are the ones who can help to fill the gaps in respite care in most areas. They’re the ones who find the work fulfilling despite being challenging. What good is a revolutionary program proven to help improve the quality of life of people suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s if there are not enough trained and skilled people who will be rendering the actual care?
Education, as has already been proven in numerous fields, only breeds excellence. And as with anything tied to excellence, you can be certain that quality is sure to follow. Without a doubt, it’s as much the secret to any program’s success as its uniqueness.
On the whole, the one key to improving the quality of respite care in senior living is by being open to viewing things from a different perspective. More often than not, the facility that does never settles for anything average or mediocre. This may seem like a banal thing to say, given the fact that eldercare facilities are still essentially businesses. However, it has to be underscored since the reality of the challenges inherent in the industry requires nothing less.