Jim* came to Wayne County Care Center from his home after his physical needs began to exceed what his family and community services could provide. It was clear to us that leaving his home left Jim feeling upset and desperate to maintain some control over his life. Some of Jim’s preferences for autonomy challenged our care team to think outside the box.
One important preference Jim expressed was to receive his medication on time, otherwise, he freezes and cannot move or speak if the specific time frame is not adhered to. As he knows he may experience these symptoms, Jim becomes agitated and anxious when the nurses are running late. So, to avoid this, Jim wanted to administer his medication himself.
Initially this request did not sit well with nursing staff, who had many concerns. However, our care team worked together to develop a plan to fulfill Jim’s preference. After much discussion we decided on a process that seemed doable, the nurses would prepare his medications and assured that he had everything he needed in his room to go along with them: an adequate supply of spoons, cups, and applesauce.
Since moving in, Jim’s mood has improved because he has a say in how he wants things to be done. He’s taken an active role in our community, becoming a regular attendee of the men’s group and weekly games. Often, we will see Jim outside his room, comforting other residents, holding their hand and softly talking to them.
Jim’s preferences no longer seemed like an inconvenience once we were able to move past the mentality of “this is how we’ve always done things.” The barriers we overcame were the ones that we’d build up over the years of always doing things “by the book.” Honoring Jim’s preferences taught our team that it’s okay for us to do things in new ways.
Thanks to Jan Miller, RN Care Plan Coordinator & MDS Nurse at Wayne Country Care Center, for sharing this story!
*Name changed for confidentiality.