I’m hoping to talk to some other OTs working in long term care or residential care homes at this time..... Is there anyone checking this forum who does?
All the best,
Yes I currently work in a residential aged care facility in Australia.
I'm keen to talk to other OTs working in this space at the moment.
Look forward to hearing from you to learn what you are doing & how you are coping.
I’m in Canada,
I’m actually self-isolating at home the moment cause I went down with a cough last Saturday and so am waiting it out and using the time I have to prepare for all possibilities of what might the next weeks might bring.
I am an occupational therapist and research associate at Paris Descartes-Sorbonne University.
In France, residential institutions for dependent elderly people are already affected by COVID19 (many deaths). Our Ministry of Health guidelines are to confine patients to their rooms. However, the French community of occupational therapists fears the aggravation of the risks of "sliding syndrome" of the most fragile residents, a loss of muscle mass and an increased situation of decompensation in the weeks following the period of confinement in the room.
Maybe we can come up with guidelines/plan/advice for care providers working with elderly people in long term care who have to be confined to their rooms to keep them physically and mentally healthy. There is a lot of advice and guides out there for the general public on staying healthy while physically distancing or while self-isolating... but that advice doesn’t work well for people in long term care. Maintaining daily routines and adapting daily occupations could still be possible with a lot of creativity to combat sliding syndrome. I suspect that a huge problem will be doing that while short staffed and using PPE if someone is suspected of having COVID-19.
So, I’ll try breaking this problem down:
1) Infection from COVID-19, particularly high risk for elderly people.
2) Decline in physical health from decompensation and loss of muscle mass due to no longer being up and about.
3) Decline in mental health from confinement, loss of meaningful roles, loss of contact with friends/family
1) Care aides, may be very limited in the time they can spend with a person
2) Family/friends, cannot visit in person but maybe able to be in contact via technology, from outside windows, or through letters
3) Person in LTCF themselves: varying levels of physical and cognitive ability
Occupations (where intervention could be made):
1) Self-care: Dressing, body care, eating, bathing (I’m probably missing something here)
2) Productivity: Being out and about in the hallways helping or “helping” to various degrees of disruption vs effectiveness, giving verbal advice/having a role, watching out for fellow residents
3) Leisure: Various activities that may previously have been in a group, individual activities that might previously have been done outside their room, individual activities that were previously done in their room and can go on
That actually really helped me, so adapting occupations:
1) Self-care: Emphasize importance of caregivers talking to residents while helping them with these daily tasks, giving residents opportunities to do the tasks for themselves, importance of using simple cueing instructions and not rushing even if rushed and anxious yourself. Maybe if technology is available, connect residents with family during mealtimes, e.g. speakerphone or video-chat.
2) Productivity: Giving residents things to “help” with within their rooms but which will STAY in their rooms: towels to fold, cutlery to sort, etc...
3) Leisure: Adapt activities to be done individually... I’m not sure how to adapt the social aspect, that’s going to take some thought.
Please add your thoughts and suggestions.
It’s my last day of self-isolation today (yay!) I’m headed to work in a long term care home tomorrow.