In 2010 the Retirement Home Regulation Act (RHRA) launched a totally new concept – documented care plans for Residents of retirement communities.
This is not to say that care planning was not being performed within retirement homes – far from it. However, variances in care practice, within multi-site organizations, and certainly among independent organizations were likely common occurrences. So the RHRA 2010 focused on defining, standardizing and improving the level of care.
With this aim in mind, the benefits would be two-fold: an improvement for the standard of care within retirement communities and a venue for Residents to participate in decision-making for their own care. A win-win for both.
The Act has proposed that each Resident be assessed, either by the retirement staff or an external provider. Then based on the assessed needs, develop a suitable plan of care in collaboration with each Resident. With expectations clearly defined, both parties would be on the same page, and the chance of a conflict or dispute at a later stage significantly lowered.
The Amendment to RHRA in 2013 has simply put the initial Act in motion, with a call-to-action on documented care plans for new Residents, and in January 2014, for all Residents, with mandatory reviews every 6 months.
Moving forward, collaboration will be key among retirement staff and external care providers with the Resident at the centre of the circle of care.
The amendment to RHRA 2013 simply took Resident care plans to the next step: care plans must be systematically documented and include mandatory sections and details. For instance, care plans must contain details of the care provided, objectives for the care provided and clear directions on how the care will be delivered.
The plan, itself, must contain (a) details of the care provided (b) objectives that the care will fulfill (c) clear directions to retirement home staff providing direct care to the Resident. It should also document the outcomes of the care plan provided to the Resident and its effectiveness. Additionally, each care plan for each Resident must be reviewed and updated every 6 months. The standardization of Resident care plans will add to the administrative responsibilities for retirement homes.
It is obvious that the new responsibilities resulting from the Amendment will call for more collaboration among retirement home staff, external care providers and family members involved in different aspects of the Resident's care. Retirement homes will need to implement protocols that facilitate successful collaboration.
The Amendment went into effect in January this year for new Residents of retirement homes. Beginning January 2014, all Residents must have documented care plans. The clock is ticking on the work that must go into adhering to the Amendment. If all retirement communities are ready to take on the challenge, the senior population – which is expected to double in the next 22 years – will definitely reap the benefits.