Your team has likely learned new ways to work together during the pandemic. Use these new, improved skills to help make Function Focused Care a daily habit for staff and patients. Your function focused care champions are your leaders and role models. These individuals play a vital role in implementing the strategies we want all staff to use when working with patients to help maintain and even improve function and physical activity levels.
Champions not only act as role models, but also cheerleaders, teachers and observers. Encourage your champions to take a few minutes and watch the ways in which their co-workers interact with patients to make sure they are using person centered approaches during care interactions (e.g., having the individual participate in his or her bathing and dressing; walking the individuals to the bathroom regularly to avoid agitation; or singing the patient’s favorite song during an unpleasant care interaction). Acknowledge and praise staff when they use Function Focused Care. A simple, “Great job getting that patient to get out of bed and walk!” can go a long way.
Conversely, when champions witness missteps by staff during patient interactions, such as not encouraging a patient to participate in their morning care, they should turn these into opportunities to teach their colleagues a better way to handle those situations. Role modeling a better way is one of the best ways to make new learning happen. For example, when a caregiver tells a patient who is repeatedly getting up and down in an unsafe fashion to sit down they might fall …. And the patient persists and gets more agitated….it may be helpful to step in and show that taking the resident for a walk or having him or her stand and sing and dance for a minute or two may decrease the agitation.
Staying positive, encouraging and persistent is key to changing the habits of staff and building a strong team of caregivers who help one another.