There is a shift occurring in our society. In the not too distant past, it was the exception rather than the rule for families to challenge care providers.
Understanding generational values is key to predicting behaviour and priorities. Go back 20 years in time when those who are in their 80’s today were in their 60’s and responsible for their parents. The foundation for that generation’s values came from their experiences during their childhood – the Depression and the second world war.
Those major life moulding events set an expectation that acceptance of the rules was the norm and challenging authority was discouraged. The word from doctors, nurses, senior managers of a facility, etc. was accepted as gospel and rarely challenged. Make no mistake, there are individuals in that generation who did not fit this profile and were quite assertive, but they are more the exception than the rule.
Move forward to today. The Baby Boomers are a different lot. Their values make them much more assertive with an expectation of customer service. The service industry (restaurants, stores, resorts, etc.) have experienced this shift. Ask them the difference in the customers of today compared to a couple of decades ago.
The children of our residents, the Baby Boomers, have a better understanding of their individual rights and more apt to challenge authority. The dramatic increase in family members placing cameras in resident rooms to monitor care is a case in point. In fact, cameras in resident rooms for family access may become legislated.
The Boomers have legislatively gained access to their medical records and the medical records of their loved ones under our care. What may be next? Remote and immediate access to all clinical files is a possibility. Long-Term Care facilities cannot function without sophisticated clinical software. Retirement Homes have realized that electronic records is the only way to ensure a consistent quality of care and service. Use of mobile devices to document is the new reality of today. Resisting families having direct and remote access to clinical records will become a futile exercise when and if it is legislated. Preparation for that day is more critical. This means ongoing staff education on appropriate, concise and accurate documentation is essential.
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