Almonte working to better address complex-care needs
Educational in-services, concerted efforts to address younger residents all part of plan
May 31, 2012
ALMONTE, Ont. - With long-term care increasingly seeing more residents with complex-care needs, Almonte Country Haven is working at finding solutions to meet the demands of these residents, who are often younger than the average person living in a home.
Ken Shepheard, 52, is one such resident. Shepheard has Huntington’s disease, a neurodegenerative genetic disorder affecting muscle co-ordination. He has been living at the Lanark County long-term care home about two months, and because of his young age it can be challenging to meet his needs. Both Shepheard and administrator Marilyn Colton acknowledge this fact.
To address the challenge, the home has helped Shepheard move into a room with a younger resident and the life enrichment department has created programming that meets his needs.
For example, Shepheard is a big hockey fan, so the home has arranged for him to attend Ottawa Senators games. He and life enrichment aide Todd Cullen often go to a local Tim Hortons as well.
It’s these types of activities that are necessary for younger residents like Shepheard, and homes always need to be on the lookout for ways to meet their needs, says Colton.
More specifically to Shepheard, Colton is planning an educational in-service about Huntington’s disease to front-line staff members, so they can learn more about the affliction and how to work with residents affected by it.
This means educating team members about the decline people affected by the disease experience and what staff members can do to support people through the decline.
“A lot of our staff don’t understand the illness, so I’m going to be doing (the in-service) this month,” Colton tells the OMNIway. “I want to talk to staff members about what ways they think we can do more for Ken.”
One proven way of meeting Shepheard’s needs is encouraging male staff members to focus on spending time with him. This is important because many of the men working at the home share the same interests as Shepheard, so it’s just a matter of reaching out and encouraging people, the administrator says.
This is not just about addressing Shepheard’s needs; it’s also about readying for more people affected by Huntington’s and other complex-care needs, says Colton.
Keep reading the OMNIway to learn more about Shepheard in an upcoming story.
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