Your team has likely learned new and better ways to support, motivate, and communicate with each other during the pandemic. Use these enhanced skills to help make Function Focused Care (FFC) a daily habit for staff and patients. Your FFC champions are leaders and role models, and play a vital role in implementing the strategies we want all staff to use when working with patients to help maintain and even improve their function and physical activity levels.
Champions not only act as role models, but also cheerleaders, observers, and teachers. Champions can take a few minutes to watch how their team members interact with patients to see if they are using person centered, function focused care approaches during care interactions (e.g., encouraging patients to participate in their own bathing and dressing; walking patients to the bathroom regularly to avoid agitation; or singing a patient’s favorite song during an unpleasant care interaction). Champions can also acknowledge and praise team members when they see them engaging in FFC. A simple, “Great job getting Ms. Smith out of bed and walking!” 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 can 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 or they might fall” …. And the patient persists and gets more agitated….it may be helpful to step in and show that taking the patient for a short walk or doing a few sit-to-stand exercises with them may decrease the agitation.
Staying positive and persistent is key to building a strong team of caregivers who provide function focused care at every opportunity.