There is a giant wave travelling throughout the entire health care system — it is the Boomer Generation (those born between 1946 and 1964). This generation is generally outspoken, and one that expects, and even demands, customer service. The fringe of this generation is just now entering the LTC and Retirement Home sector as residents. More importantly, the parents of this generation (those who are 75 to over 90 years of age) are the clients within the circle of care.
What are the changes? Generally, and not intended to stereotype, the parents of the Boomers are less likely to challenge authority and more accepting of the direction given by health care professionals. The Boomers are a different story. Again this is a generalization, but the Boomers are more apt to challenge authority and be much more assertive in doing so.
This can create conflicts at times between the Boomers and their parents, leaving the health care provider in the middle. The Boomers may not hesitate to impose on the health care provider what they want and expect for themselves as the demands for their loved, even though their loved one may not agree or see the issues as relevant.
Working with the Boomers is shifting how health care providers operate.
- When issues arise involving their loved ones, Boomers expect them to be addressed promptly.
- Electronic communication on any and all issues is an anticipated practice. Family email addresses are now the most basic request during the admission process. The impact from other social media technologies are still to be determined.
- Free access to their loved one’s clinical records is no longer in question.
- Boomers insist on a living environment with the amenities they are used to having, which at times may contradict what their loved one sees as important. This changes meal offerings, recreational and physio programs, transportation requirements, available assistive devices, and more.
- Active Family Councils are becoming the norm.
- Partnerships with the health care providers is the expected culture.
There is no stopping the wave.
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