Family supports in the transition to long-term care

Annette Lane 1, Pamela Hawranik1, Sandra Hirst2, Marlette Reed3, Alina Rokhman1
1Athabasca University, Athabasca, AB, Canada, 2University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada, 3St. James Anglican Church, Calgary, AB, Canada

Transitioning to a long-term care (LTC) facility is known to be fraught with emotions and challenges for older adults, as well as family members.  While it is recognized that support may help older adults and their family members adjust during this transition, there is limited research examining what supports family members need.

Objective: The objective of this presentation is to explore the supports wanted/needed by family members of older adults transitioning into LTC. Method: Our research method was a qualitative/descriptive study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 6 family members of aging adults admitted to LTC within 6 months from when the interviews were conducted.  Results: The themes found in the interviews include: the importance of talking about the newly admitted family member; recognition of the psycho/social/spiritual aspects of personhood; honoring the unique physical care needs of each individual; and, attention to the environment in order to support the personhood of individuals.  Conclusion: We suggest that beyond the need for information, family members equated feeling supported with evidence that the personhood and uniqueness of their older adult was being recognized and demonstrated by staff.  Implications for older adults and their family members, staff in LTC facilities, as well as environmental issues are addressed within our presentation.