How many times have you started a program, only to have a front line staff person come in part way through the activity to take the resident for a bath, or a family member to take them for a ride. While the intent may be positive, the impact for the resident, other participants and you may not be so positive.
The resident being taken out of the program may prefer to stay until the end. Other participants will likely be distracted by the interruption, and of course it is inconvenient for you in terms of running a smooth and meaningful program. Managing such situations requires tact and assertiveness!
When confronted with someone entering a program to remove the resident, as recreation professionals we have an obligation to advocate on behalf of the resident. In other words, by saying to the resident, “Mrs. J, what would you like to do right now? You can either go with the nurse for your bath, or stay and finish the program. What would you like to do?” Respecting the resident’s sense of control and choice in such situations is imperative. The staff member may not be pleased if the resident does not go for her bath right then, but they should also recognize the importance of respecting the resident’s choice.
When this type of thing occurs, it is a reflection of a breakdown in communication between recreation and nursing. We know the other departments have to plan and schedule their care, such as resident baths. When developing the resident’s plan of care, attention to such schedules and resident program preferences should be done collaboratively between recreation and other departments, so that conflicts such as this do not occur.
When a family member comes to remove the resident from a program, the situation obviously requires diplomacy, but resident rights cannot be ignored. You want to give the resident the choice, without offending the family member. A comment such as “Mrs. J., isn’t that nice that your daughter is here to take you out for a drive? Are you ready to leave now?” will help to bridge the situation. You have praised the daughter’s intent, and provided the resident with the option of expressing what she would like to do.
If the resident elects to leave the program, you, as the recreationist, cannot and should not be offended. As the resident is leaving, encouraging the remaining participants to join you in saying goodbye will help to smooth the transition before continuing with the program. As a side note to this, within ActivityPro be sure to adjust the minutes of engagement for this resident when you are entering their score. If they are leaving after 15 minutes of a 30 minute program, adjust the time to 15 minutes, and score them based on their engagement level for the 15 minutes they were present.
While taking the position as an advocate for the resident may at first be seen as confrontational, if done with care, others will see and respect your professionalism and concern for resident rights.
Manage documentation and reporting of your recreation department quicker and easier with ActivityPro, call us today at 1-888-898-0098.