This week we’ll address a common concern among busy assisted living staff…the TIME CRUNCH! With an endless list of things to do each day, who has time for Function Focused Care?
But consider this: Function Focused Care(FFC) is not something we do in addition to care. It is not simply one more thing added onto the bottom of your list. Rather, it is how care is provided and incorporated into everything you do with a resident. With a little bit of practice, FFC will become a habit that fits into the daily routine of you and every caregiver at your site.
For example, when you are getting someone up in the morning, you can evaluate range of motion and strength as they get dressed. Test them a bit by leaving something they may want such as a brush up on a higher shelf than it normally is. See if they reach up to get it. When you are walking to the dining room, observe their balance and gait. Watch for how steady they walk. Do they grab furniture or touch walls?
Once you determine their capability, focus on what a resident is able to do, and give them the opportunity to do it. You may be surprised by what they can accomplish with a little encouragement. Let them wash their face while you wash their lower body, ask them comb their hair while you get their clothes out, have them self-propel in the wheelchair instead of pushing them to meals and activities. Not only does this help with strength and range of motion, it can save you time too!
In terms of goals, pick one resident a week for whom to develop short and long term goals. Get residents and their families involved in goal identification and motivation strategies. A goal might be walking 50 feet so they can get to the dining room to sit for a meal, getting out of a wheelchair and into a regular chair for meals, or doing 10 sit-to-stands a day to help prevent a fall or be able to get up off the toilet by oneself. Setting goals and learning what motivates each resident requires sharing ideas and testing stuff out to see what works…what’s realistic. Be creative!
Finally, think for a moment about the many physical and psychological benefits of function focused care, including maintaining the independence and dignity of residents. We are confident you will agree that spending a few minutes with your staff to teach them how to evaluate residents’ capabilities, setting a few simple goals for residents, showing them how to use the “hand-over-hand” technique for residents who need assistance with grooming and feeding, and brainstorming ideas for motivating residents is worth all of the benefits that the residents—as well as staff—will ultimately enjoy. We are here to help you with this process and look forward to sharing your success stories throughout the coming year.