One of the things I do as a Recreation Therapist is to try to learn as much as I can about a person's leisure interests. But, each person on staff (Nurses, Personal Support Workers, Occupational Therapists, Dietitians, Social Workers, etc.), benefit from different information to provide the best care for your loved one. We each do our own assessments within our own field but having an overview of the person definitely helps us take care of them from the day the person arrives to us.
For the team, caring for a person with dementia can be challenging since the person often can't tell us what they like, don't like, if they're married, if they have children and so on. It makes it difficult for us to decrease their anxiety and fears if we don't have some important information about them. When someone arrives to a new facility, whether it be long term care or a hospital, the Social Worker or another staff member meets with family members to learn about the new person. Leisure interests are not always covered, nor likes/dislikes about food and other things that may seem little or not important, but can make a huge difference. Not all of the staff have time to read the person's chart or medical history so if a family member creates a 1-2 page sheet with basic information, it makes it possible for more staff to learn some basics about your loved one right away. Also, in many facilities with staffing issues, there are a lot of float or casual staff who are not familiar with each person. Think about a substitute teacher. They come into a classroom to teach for a day but don't really know anything about the kids' personalities, how they learn, what behaviours they have and so on. It is the same with many casual staff. By creating a 1-2 page sheet about your loved one, the information could be taped on the person's bedroom wall for staff to quickly read before doing care or spending time with them. They'll have more information to better understand how to care for your loved one and it will also provide them with some information so they know what to talk about or what to say to make your loved one feel more comfortable.
You'll see an attached document with questions which can help you formulate a care plan for your loved one. In another post, I will attach a document which will help you to use the information you've answered to form a reader friendly sheet which staff can read to learn more. Often staff are running off their feet (especially Personal Support Workers who do the most intimate care) so having knowledge about your loved one really makes a difference.
The attached form is short and simple and easy enough to condense into a one page sheet for staff. Stay tuned for the next post for the care plan you can use for free!