Reflecting Forward

It has been said that, “We do not learn from experience; we learn from reflecting on experience.” Even as we stride ahead towards our goal of approaching every resident in long-term care in BC, we continue to reflect on the mosaic of experiences that we are accumulating – experiences of residents, surveyors, project team members, and care home staff.

Robert W., a volunteer surveyor in Vancouver Coastal region, has taken the time to reflect on his experiences with residents… and to share those reflections:

“As an aging senior myself, I have a keen interest in issues related to aging adults. Over these past several weeks I have enjoyed my many encounters with the residents. I look forward each day to meeting and conversing with each unique and interesting person. I always come away from our encounters having learned something about their experiences, both before coming into care as well as in their current circumstances.

When I first joined the project, I was surprised to learn what it is like to work in today’s digital world where the trainers and coordinators are scattered throughout the province. There were also adjustments as I became acclimatized to the environment of the care home itself. Once I became more comfortable, I found all the staff were most welcoming and very helpful in making connections with the residents. I received great feedback from [residents] about the value of the project – and even how people appreciated the opportunity to talk with someone new.

From my experiences I would say to fellow and future volunteers that the sooner you establish relationships with the people who are directly involved with the residents, the smoother your path to the residents will be. Creating mutual trust facilitates connections.

The most important thing to remember about being with the residents is the need to listen with patience. This is a fundamental quality in any encounter with a resident.

My hope for this project is that all the concerns that were expressed by residents in our surveys will result in appropriate policy changes that will impact those both in existing residences and in the planning and realization of future programs for seniors in care.”

In reflecting on the incredible value of truly listening to each resident’s experience, we are inspired to forge ahead! Since September 2022, OSA Surveyors have been engaging with residents in 279 out of 297 care homes in BC. We look forward to continuing to listen to the experiences of residents in the remaining care homes from which we can all reflect and learn.

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