‘We facilitate positive risk-taking through the involvement of older people, relatives and staff in shared decision-making, in all aspects of home life.’
For many, going into a care home can feel like a move away from being in control of one’s own life. Collective living with others can be a new experience for many and the importance of feeling involved in decision-making in relation to both their care and the wider running of the home, should not be underestimated.
In some care homes, older people get involved in maintaining the garden, being responsible for pets, helping out with housekeeping, planning the décor, recruiting staff and carrying out internal audits.
‘There is a lot of experience among us [the people living in the care home] but the skills we have developed in our lives are completely wasted… There are a lot of things that residents could share if given an opportunity.’
All people living in care homes (including those with cognitive impairment), their families and staff members need to have the opportunity to be involved in the decisions that affect them, to the extent that they wish to be involved.
Feeding the views of older people and relatives into a change process should be a priority; care homes can establish a group for the whole care home community to talk about these issues. Some decisions, such as the fine balance between rights and risks, need to be continually re-assessed and negotiated between older people, relatives and staff to maintain quality of life.
Distributing information to all members of the care home community, such as through a regular newsletter, have the potential to ensure that everyone feels involved and creates ownership of identified problems and solutions.