Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Best Practice for Providing Care for Patients in Long-term Care Facilities at Thanksgiving
The patients we serve in LTC facilities include: memory care patients, ALF patients, and independent living patients. Usually, at Thanksgiving the memory care patients go home for the holiday or the family comes to the facility to be with their loved one. The facility provides the meal which his pureed. In the ALF and independent, we follow the protocols for providing care for home patients. (see below)
Collaboration between the Chaplain and Social Worker is the key to serving the patients who will be alone. Use the IDT for initiating planning sometime in October and finalize early in November so effort is focused on the patient and not the plan prior to Thanksgiving.
Patients at Home—(Going the extra mile for them)
For patients still living at home Thanksgiving can be anything but a happy holiday. The circumstances of the patient and why they are alone at this holiday come into play in your pastoral care.
v Are they alienated from their family members?
v Are they separated due to distance from family members?
v You probably have broached the subject of family issues with them. Thanksgiving will bring emotions to the surface weeks before the actual holiday. Employ listening skills. They are not looking for you to fix things. Provide the spiritual and existential support they need. Your winsome and wise counsel will help them through the emotional pain.
v If they cannot provide a meal for themselves and would be open to it, collaborate with the Social Worker as they have a concurrent program to provide meals for patients.
v Provide a card, if possible. Some faith communities make cards for “shut-ins” and if appropriate ask for as many as needed.
v A phone call on Thanksgiving from you or the on call Chaplain would provide support.