A Community of Support
The isolation experienced throughout the pandemic has affected us all, but for the elders in our communities and those who care for them, it has been particularly challenging. Increased safety precautions and restricted visits meant that the care staff were the residents only interactions. That’s why our friends at Heritage Pointe of Fort Wayne took their processes one step further by making sure that residents were not only safe, but also engaged and happy.
The Buddy System
Speaking with our customer Chandra Wilson, Health Information Consultant at Heritage Pointe of Fort Wayne, she mentioned an initiative her facility created in order to combat resident isolation. When Heritage Pointe began to notice a disconnect between the residents, staff, and the community, they knew they needed to find a way to keep everyone connected. That’s when they had the idea to create a formalized buddy system to increase their resident’s engagement and help them to cope with the extra isolation. “During the worst days of the pandemic, we really began to notice the huge impact the lack of socialization has had on our community. Whether it be friends, family, or just fellow residents, everyone was feeling the effects of isolation. It was because of this that we created and implemented a buddy program with residents and staff.”
How it works
A buddy system generally implies a level of accountability and protection in a one-to-one setting, so in order to adapt it to their community they ensured that all residents had a staff member as their designated buddy to keep them company during time of isolation. “We did a draw and staff members were paired up with residents and they would check in on their buddy each day and see how they were doing and offer any additional support that they could. It really provided us the opportunity to go that extra mile in caring for our residents. Whether it was planning activities, painting their nails, playing games with them, or just taking the extra time to talk to them and see how they are doing, it really made a big difference.”
And that’s not all, they also created group activities residents could participate in with their buddy. “We also did a few other things with the program to keep up engagement. During the holidays we did a wreath decorating contest where each pairing received a wreath and decorated it together. It was lovely to see all the wreaths on the doors of the resident’s rooms and they really had fun doing it.”
Better resident care
As an added bonus of creating the buddy system, Heritage Pointe was able to facilitate stronger connections between the staff and residents. “The staff members who participated became more connected with their resident buddy and were able to form deeper relationships with them. The program increased morale around the facility and it also allowed us to take better care of the residents. The staff were more entuned to the residents needs more so than someone who was only in there for a few minutes to do a specific task.”
Chandra also mentioned that over the last year she has been amazed to see the resilience of the staff at Heritage Pointe. “Our staff have been amazing. They are so tired, but they are so resilient. With the restrictions, they have had to become that person’s family member and friend even more so than they ever had to in the past. We aren’t just doing our individual roles anymore. We are taking on a lot more of an emotional connection with the residents now, and we are better for it.”
Connecting to the PointClickCare Community
Chandra also told us that another way that their facility is staying connected is through the PointClickCare community, the Pulse. In her role Chandra is involved in many areas of the business and uses the PointClickCare solutions every day. “The Pulse has been helpful in creating a sense of community for the staff at our facility. It allows me to see how other people are using it and discuss challenges and solutions with other users. For example, because of the Pulse, I recently learned you could document items like bathing schedule with the quick entry at the top of the POC. It’s just a lot of little things like that we wouldn’t have known without the Pulse and having this community of support with other PointClickCare customers has helped us stay connected and do our jobs more efficiently.” As a PointClickCare user for over 7 years now, Chandra says she’s learned a lot about how the tool works and is always amazed when she learns something new from the Pulse community.
Thanks for sharing with us, Chandra!
April 30, 2021