By Mabell, Dave on December 3, 2019.
Thousands of Alberta seniors are able to remain in their home, with the support of home-care services.
Most are happy with the level of service they’re receiving, according to a new province-wide study.
And more than three-quarters say those services are keeping them out of seniors’ care facilities longer.
“An important goal of home care is to support clients to remain at home safely and independently for as long as possible,” says Andrew Neuner, speaking for the Health Quality Council of Alberta.
“The survey has shown that 77 per cent of clients said ‘Yes,’ home care helped them stay home.”
The 2018 survey also found clients’ overall home-care experience is moving in a positive direction, he adds.
They rated their overall experience at 8.3 out of 10, compared to 8.1 in 2015.
“While the higher overall care rating in the 2018 survey is encouraging and we will continue to monitor this in future home care surveys, the report is also a valuable tool for identifying opportunities for improvement in the delivery of home-care services,” says Neuner, the council’s chief executive officer.
The survey obtained feedback from seniors aged 65 and older, representing the largest group of home-care clients in Alberta. With a response rate of 59 per cent, the report captures the experiences of 6,914 senior home-care clients across the province.
Neuner says the council also conducted an analysis to determine the five survey questions that have the greatest potential to improve the overall home-care client experience. They included topics touching on care continuity, medication support, and how responsive home-care staff were to client needs.
The survey showed 42 per cent of clients reported they were “very happy” with the number of different personal-care staff they had, 38 per cent said professional home-care staff talked with them about the purpose of their medications and 21 per cent said professional home-care staff talked with them about the side effects of their medications
As well, 77 per cent felt professional home-care staff listened carefully to their wishes and needs, and 56 per cent said professional home-care staff gave them choices about how care was provided.
Based on those results, Neuner says the council is planning actions for improvement:
– Alberta Health Services and contracted home-care providers should work together to fully understand each client’s concerns and expectations with care continuity, and should develop strategies to address these concerns.
– Alberta Health Services should consult with professional home-care staff and home-care clients on what tools and support staff they need in order to improve communication about medication-related information with their home-care clients.
– Alberta Health Services should consult with professional home-care staff and home care clients on what tools and support staff need in order to strengthen their relationships with clients, specifically to more carefully listen to clients’ wishes and needs, and where possible, provide an opportunity for client engagement and choice in how care is provided and managing client expectations and understanding, when choice may be limited.
The quality care association “has a legislated mandate to promote and improve patient safety and health service quality on a province-wide basis,” says Dr. Trevor Theman, chair of its board of directors.
“Our goal is for this report to be used as a resource that supports improvements in the quality of home-care services provided in Alberta. Listening to the voices of those that receive services is a vital source of information to inform improvement efforts.”