The Importance of Psychosocial Care in Senior Living

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 A senior sitting up in bed staring out the window

There is an important link between psychosocial care and overall health in seniors. In the past, residents of long-term and post-acute care facilities were given attention based only on their medical needs. While medical needs are the first and foremost priority of care facilities, providers now understand the fundamental importance of meeting resident’s and patient’s social and emotional needs, on top of their medical needs. The facilities that truly “embrace the time, space, and action needed to recognize and investigate changes in residents’ emotional states” see the biggest improvements in their resident’s overall health.

Being in-tune with the resident’s emotional, social, and medical needs could be small changes, like adjusting the blinds in a patient’s room, to large changes to their care plan. These actions lead to an increase in resident satisfaction, fewer complaints, and, most importantly, a higher quality of life.

The best thing care providers can do to meet the resident’s emotional, social, and medical needs is to pay attention. Too often we find ourselves stuck in the monotony of life. Care providers should strive to pay attention, listen intently, and remember that each resident has an individual and very different psychosocial needs.

Psychosocial needs are an array of social and emotional needs. Psychosocial needs have a strong correlation to mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, dementia, and delirium. All residents in a care facility are in a new environment, they experience loss of relationships, loss of personal control and identity, adjustment to the facility, and continuity of care. These adjustments can be very difficult on residents, and when their psychosocial needs are met, they can be given the opportunity to thrive.

Medical, emotional, and social needs in a care facility are intertwined. As a patient receives a new diagnosis, this affects their emotional state and can have implications on their social needs and social ability. As care providers are aware of each change and implication, they can help residents and patients navigate changes, and day to day life, as successfully as possible.

Providing excellent, attuned psychosocial care is not something that can be done by one person alone. Excellent psychosocial care is a culture that must be fostered by care providers. Every member of the staff must work towards the goal of meeting each resident and patient’s psychosocial needs. Social workers are an important aspect of facility care, but they cannot be wholly responsible for psychosocial care.

Residents can grow and flourish in a facility where they feel emotionally safe and secure. Important factors in creating a culture that promotes psychosocial care are: how people are addressed, how much time staff spends with residents, communication with families, how complaints are addressed, and being conscientious and careful with room assignments.

In conclusion, successful post-acute and long term care facilities strive to meet each resident’s psychosocial needs. When residents’ psychosocial needs are met, they are more fulfilled, more secure, and more likely to have a higher quality of life. Care providers must strive to focus on each resident’s emotional, medical, and social needs.

http://www.providermagazine.com/archives/2019_Archives/Pages/0419/The-Emotional-Side-of-Care.aspx