Tip Sheet

Honoring Preferences During Quarantine

While restricting interactions among individuals can prevent the spread of illness, quarantines are difficult for residents, staff, and family. This tip sheet provides some ideas for ways to honor resident preferences for activities during quarantine. 

Shift attention away from group approaches and toward meeting individual preferences for activities, comfort and social contact. Your knowledge of each resident’s interests will help you plan activities that are pleasurable, engaging and relaxing in times of stress. Steps may include:

  • Review each resident’s preferences as captured by the Preferences for Everyday Living Inventory (PELI), PAL Cards, and conversations with each person to clarify their wishes during quarantine. Asking residents about their important preferences for activities and social contact can be a meaningful bedside activity and helps residents know that you are listening and care about their needs.
  • Focus on meeting preferences that each resident can fulfill independently or with a team member’s support. Prepare materials to be used in resident rooms and in identified quarantine areas such as:
    • Crossword puzzles, word search, Sudoku, cards (for solo games like solitaire).
    • Art and craft supplies (particularly using materials that can be cleaned before and after use). -Audiobooks as well as books and magazines. (Note that printed reading materials are difficult to sanitize and therefore should not be shared with symptomatic residents.)  -Favorite music for listening.
  • Emphasize activities that data show residents most enjoy doing on their own, such as reading, watching a movie and listening to music. To add interest, develop a theme of the week or a theme for every few days, such as:  Through the Years or Through the Eras, Science: Space, Animals or Plants, This Week in History, Love Stories, and Trip Around the Globe, featuring a new country every few days. 
  • Offer discussion-based activities in place of activities where you would typically share supplies.
  • Host “doorway games” like bingo and trivia from the hallway with residents seated in their doorway.  

Help residents cope with emotions such as fear, anxiety, loneliness or confusion. Look for ways to overcome risks to well-being that arise when people are isolated for safety.

  • Help residents and loved ones set up a regular schedule for phone calls or virtual visits via Skype or FaceTime. Plan so that staff can be present to help residents use their phone, computer or other devices to communicate.
  • Ask residents if they want to modify their room for greater comfort or for in-room activities that may relieve distress. Invite families to bring in photos or other comfort items, if possible. 
  • Host a support group for residents who are cognitively capable to learn about the community’s precautionary changes in daily routine and share their concerns related to restrictions on family visits and other topics. 

See PreferenceBasedLiving.com for additional resources and guidance, including on special topics such as honoring choice when preferences involve risk. 

About the Series

This is one in a series of Tip Sheets on using the Preferences for Everyday Living Inventory (PELI) to improve person-centered care. Topics include: How to Get Started, Interview Tips, Working with Proxies, Helping Staff Engage, Integrating Preferences into Care Plans and more. View our full series of Tip Sheets.

Have questions or comments? Please e-mail us at PELI-Can@miamioh.edu or call our helpline at 513-529-3605.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at https://preferencebasedliving.com/. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/.