Meet Brock: a Regional Training Coordinator Extraordinnaire
My name is Brock and I have the privilege of being one of the Regional Training Coordinators for the BC Office of the Seniors Advocate’s Residential Care Survey. It is a privilege because I get to facilitate training sessions to prepare wonderful like-minded people to become Volunteer Interviewers. The volunteers that participate in our training sessions undertake the most important task of the project: listening to and documenting the voices of residents living in care homes across BC by conducting one-on-one structured interviews.
At the start of each training session, I get to hear some of the reasons why people want to volunteer: to give back to their community; to contribute to improving the care and services available to seniors in BC; and to give every resident a voice about their lived experience, just to name a few. These are the same reasons I wanted to be a part of the project and are what keep me motivated to keep the training sessions engaging and educational.
I also have the privilege of conducting some of the interviews with residents across the lower mainland. I recently went to invite a resident to participate in the survey and was told by a staff member that the resident was unable to speak verbally. When I approached the resident’s room, the resident was laying on the bed with eyes closed facing a TV. I called out “Hello” and the resident’s name and was greeted with bright eyes and a wonderful smile. As I explained who I was and why I was there, the resident responded with head nods or head shakes. It was immediately obvious that the resident was fully engaged and understood exactly what I was saying. I continued to describe the survey (voluntary, confidential, can be stopped at any time, etc.) and that we could use visual analogue boards (boards that show the responses to the survey questions in words with corresponding emoticons) so that the resident could point to the answer instead of needing to speak it. When I asked, “would you like to do the survey with me?”, the resident smiled and nodded yes.
So, we began the interview . . . and went through every single question in one sitting!
The resident was able to answer the questions by pointing to the corresponding response on the visual analogue board and by nodding or shaking the head to confirm the response. After the last question, I said “You did it!”, thanked the resident, and said how important it was to have the answers documented. The resident again smiled brightly and nodded.
I really feel that being a part of this project, working with so many amazing volunteers, and listening to the voices of our residents is a beautiful thing.