Client experience with independence (staff encouragement)

How clients rated how personal home care staff encouraged their independence. (see data dictionary)

What do you think?

  • Why does it matter if personal care staff are encouraging clients to do things for themselves? What impact might this have on client quality of life?
  • How might this information be used to inform Continuing Care Health Service Standards 1.0 Standardized Assessment and Person-Centred Care Planning, 9.0 Staff Training, and/or related sub-standards?
  • Are there differences between zones? Between mainly rural and urban zones? What factors could account for these differences?

Whether you’re a client, family member, provider, or health system administrator, thinking about why these differences might exist can start or inform conversations and lead to solutions for improved quality of healthcare.

Understanding “independence (staff encouragement)”

In a survey conducted from October 2018 to March 2019, the HQCA asked clients receiving home care:

In the last year, personal care staff encouraged me to do things for myself if I could….

Clients could choose “Yes / Partly / No”

Personal Care Services are typically provided by health care aides for things like help with dressing, eating, and bathing. Engaging clients to complete parts of these tasks themselves can help them maintain their independence and stay in their home as long and as safe as possible.

Considerations when viewing the results:

This data reflects the experiences of seniors aged 65+ receiving long term supportive and maintenance care and are among the largest groups of home care clients.

There are a number of factors providers and leaders can consider to better understand and improve client experiences with personal care staff encouraging their independence. Some questions they could ask before taking action include:

  • How do personal care staff learn what a client is able/not able to do for themselves and what clients might need encouragement to do on their own? How are these learnings reflected in a client’s care plan?
  • How are personal care staff encouraged and supported to deliver care that promotes independence? How do personal care staff know when it is appropriate to encourage or support client independence while maintaining quality and safe care?
  • Sometimes, creating opportunities for clients to do things themselves can take more time than if the personal care staff member did it for them. However, personal care staff has no control over the amount of time scheduled for a given activity. How is this being considered by home care leaders and decision-makers as they establish processes and guidelines?
  • How might personal care staff and informal care givers work together to identify and foster opportunities to encourage client independence?

For information about the HQCA’s Alberta Seniors Home Care Client Survey, please visit the HQCA website.

The Health Quality Council of Alberta uses the Alberta Quality Matrix for Health as a way of organizing information and thinking around the complexity of the healthcare system. This measure can be used as input to assess home care’s performance in these dimensions of quality:
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Dimensions of Quality

  • Acceptability 
  • Accessibility 
  • Appropriateness 
  • Effectiveness 
  • Efficiency 
  • Safety