4 Ways Highgate Uses the Family-Centered Care Approach

Core concepts include dignity and respect, information sharing, participating, and collaboration.

Women painting outside at a table with others and enjoying her time

When you are searching for a long-term care option for your loved one, you want to find a place that puts your loved one first. Some assisted living and memory care communities also acknowledge the impact of caregiving on the family, too, and adopt a new approach called family-centered care. At Highgate Senior Living, the focus for care is in a person- and family-centered approach.

Family-Centered Care

The Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care defines the perspective as “an approach to the planning, delivery, and evaluation of health care that is grounded in mutually beneficial partnerships among health care providers, patients, and families. … A key goal is to promote the health and well-being of individuals and families and to maintain their control.”

Core concepts of patient- and family-centered care include:

  • Dignity and respect
  • Information sharing
  • Participating
  • Collaboration

Dignity and Respect at Highgate

At Highgate Senior Living, team members understand that no two seniors and no two families are alike. Everyone has a different life story, different interests, different health issues, and different needs.

When a new resident moves in, someone from the Life Enhancement Team will stop by to conduct a Life Story Interview and Purposeful Living Interview. The Life Story Interview helps team members better understand the history of each of the residents and share their story with other residents. The Purposeful Living Interview helps team members understand what brings meaning to each resident’s day and elicit ideas and information that allows them to plan programming for the residents so they can continue to live a life of purpose.

“At Highgate, we are resident-oriented,” says Mandy Ketcham, Community Relations Coordinator at Highgate at Yakima. “In skilled nursing and in some other assisted living or memory care communities, they are task-oriented. You can feel the difference. When our team members are engaging with the residents, they’re not worried about finishing their to-do list. Where I previously worked, you do your job, and that’s the only thing you do. Here, they want everybody to be engaged with the residents and the family members.” 

Information Sharing at Highgate

Highgate uses the Sagely App to help family members stay connected with their loved ones. Every month, each community’s activities calendar is uploaded to the app, and when a resident participates in an activity, it is logged in their profile. All resident information is private and safe guarded.

“Let’s say exercise is at 9 a.m.,” says Marlena Azure, Community Relations Coordinator at Highgate at Great Falls. “Our Life Enhancement Team will log everyone who participates in that activity. They can even mark when someone is there but not actively participating.”

Families can download the app so they can see what their loved one is up to throughout the day. Pictures at the events can be taken and uploaded to the app for families to see.

Participating at Highgate

Families are invited to participate in as many community events as they would like. Azure says many families will look at the activities calendar and suggest activities.

Ketcham adds: “People walk in here and feel at home. It’s a place where they want to come and visit.”

If families are not interested in participating in activities, they can stop by the pub and catch up over a drink or hang out in one of the many comfortable seating areas.

“We have a family come in every Sunday,” Ketcham says. “It’s a big group. I know they eat a lot of cookies, so I make sure there are a lot of cookies.”

Collaboration at Highgate

Many family caregivers are burned out by the time their loved one arrives at a Highgate community, yet they do not want to give up the caregiving role completely.

“I just had this discussion with a lady who was moving her husband into Highgate,” Azure says. “She’s been his primary caregiver, and she was worried she was giving up on him by moving him into Highgate. I said: ‘You are still going to be in charge of the care he receives. We still need you to tell us how he likes to get ready for bed or what time he likes to get ready for bed. We will still be consulting with the family to make sure we’re doing our best to meet your loved one’s needs.”

Every six months team members schedule a sit-down meeting with the family. “If they’re seeing something that we’re not seeing or if we’re seeing something they’re not seeing, then we’re all on the same page,” Azure says.

Ultimately, this approach leads to “better health outcomes, improved patient and family experience of care, better clinician and staff satisfaction, and wiser allocation of resources,” according to the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care.

For more information about how Highgate can support you and your loved one, download our eBook From Guilt to Gratitude: How Highgate Senior Living Helped My Family Feel Good Again.

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