IFA Virtual Town Hall Chat Summary 10 July 2020
The following chat summary is from the IFA Virtual Town Hall on 10 July 2020 with Dr. Amy D’Aprix.
- IFA Virtual Town Hall – COVID-19 and Older People: Through the Eyes of the Janaseva Foundation
Friday 17 July 2020 at 7:00 am Toronto EDT
Long-term care homes
- Since regular contact was not possible with relatives in long-term care homes due to visitation restrictions during lockdown, the older person living in the home formed new connections to other people in their community. Some individuals visiting these relatives found it took a while for them to rekindle connections and while they were comforted by the fact that their relatives ‘looking well,’ they felt a sense of loss as though they were not needed.
- Doutta Galla Aged Services has developed guidelines for older people and their loved ones and employed additional staff to assist older people in keeping connected to their friends and family (via phones as well as social media and other technology) while keeping them safely isolated across 8 long term care homes in Australia.
- Visitation restrictions like physical distancing mean that some individuals forego visiting their friend or family member living in a long term care home out of a fear of transmitting COVID-19. How can these anxieties be overcome?
- Pre-COVID-19 families were providing much of the care in long-term care facilities because there was not enough staff, funding or space for the facilities to attend to the needs of each older person. Many families were hiring private caregivers to provide person-centered care. Family caregivers could be trained to provide the care, socialization and empathy which are needed now more than ever, along with other care services and contact tracing.
- Amy D’Aprix developed ‘caring cards’ with questions to help visitors start meaningful person-centered conversations when visiting someone in a long-term care home
- Mosaic Home Care follows the “Meaning Of Me” Person Centered Care Model.
- A Wider Perspective on Person Centeredness and Person-Centered Care article by Ms. Jane Teasdale describes Mosaic Home Care approach to person-centered care (see pg. 23).
Health care professionals
- Some health care professionals are exploring an approach in which they ask every older person during their interactions “what matters to you.” There have been fears or concerns that this may take up too much time or that they may not be able to deal with the answer, but it may be valuable to expand this approach.
- The John A. Hartford Foundation uses “The 4Ms” as part of their work on Age-Friendly Health Systems which involves asking older people during health care interactions about: 1. What matters to you? 2. Mobility 3. Medication and 4. Mental Health
- Listening and having meaningful conversations with older people is a very under-rated skill and would be a valuable addition to Personal Support Workers’ training.
Barriers to communication
- The loss of connection with family is proving to have negative impacts on the well being of people with dementia. What kind of technology can be utilized to communicate with cognitively impaired older persons living in remote locations or long term care homes? To what extent can LERA (Listen, Empathize, Reassure, Act) be used in such cases?
- Older people living alone with no access to technology may only ever see or be in contact with the postman and could experience severe loneliness.
- In some cases, traditional interactions such as a phone call may be the only way some people want/need to interact.