Best care strategies help Riverview’s BSO team improve resident’s quality of life

‘The resident still has both good and bad days, but we are having more good days because of the best-care strategies’

Riverview Manor’s Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) team has helped enhance a resident’s quality of life and improved their emotional well-being by using best-care strategies and supportive measures.

BSO team member and personal support worker Karlie Phillips says the resident was experiencing agitation before an outbreak at the Peterborough long-term care home that lasted from December to February.

Due to safety protocols in effect, residents were in isolation during the outbreak, and this resident’s agitation became worse, Karlie says.

Karlie says one of the things team members noticed was when the outbreak ended, this resident was not recognizing familiar faces, including those of caregivers.

BSO team members knew they had to do something to improve the resident’s quality of life, Karlie says, so they began by observing the care that was being delivered to discover what was causing agitation.

One of the things the team discovered was the resident did not like having to go through the process of having clothes changed. Team members contacted the resident’s family and asked if they could bring open-back clothing to the home to mitigate issues their loved one was having when being changed.

The family did so, and the resident stopped becoming agitated when having clothing changed.

The resident was also becoming agitated when being administered medications early in the morning. Since the resident prefers to sleep in, Riverview’s physician was asked to perform a medication review to determine if medications could be given later in the day.

The physician approved administering the resident’s medications later in the day. The resident was able to sleep in and have medications administered later in the morning, which resulted in decreased agitation, Karlie says.

“(The resident) also likes to have the medications put into chocolate pudding and in drinks, we found,” Karlie says.

Once the causes of the resident’s agitation were determined, detailed best-care strategies were written up for team members working on all three shifts, and a list of “care champions” was created to identify team members who were most successful at completing care.

The result has been that the resident is most often allowing team members to complete care without becoming agitated, Karlie says.

“The resident still has both good and bad days, but we are having more good days because of the best-care strategies,” she says.

BSO is a provincial initiative to help enhance the quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that cause agitation. The funding, which is provided to long-term care homes through Ontario’s 14 Local Health Integration Networks, is largely put towards staff education.

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