Program Overview

CITRA’s Partners in Caregiving (PIC) Program is a cooperative communication program for nursing home staff and residents’ family members to improve the quality of care for nursing home residents. PIC is based on an empowerment approach where nursing home staff and families are viewed as partners in residents’ care. Mutual respect and caring form the basis of this partnership – families bring their knowledge of their relatives and staff bring their technical expertise in providing care. PIC is based on the best available research evidence and best practices in the field, and is the result of years of program development and evaluation, including a randomized control study.

Goals & Objectives of the Program

PIC’s primary goal is to enhance communication between nursing home staff and families so that they can work together to care for residents. In most nursing homes, family-staff relations can be strained and conflictual rather than cooperative, leading to a reduction in family involvement in residents’ care. PIC aims to encourage and support involvement of families in the lives of residents, which research suggests is critical to residents’ quality of life.

Structure of the Program

The PIC Program consists of two parallel workshop series: one for nursing home staff and one for residents’ family members. The staff training is primarily structured as a full-day in-service (6.5 hours). The family training includes three two-hour workshop sessions to be conducted weekly. The program ends with a joint session with families, staff, and facility administrators to brainstorm new facility practices and policies to promote better family-staff relations.

Benefits of the Program

PIC provides communication and conflict resolution skill training to nursing home staff and residents’ families. Nursing home staff and families who participate in the program learn how to communicate more effectively with each other, how to avoid problems, and how to solve them when they occur. Both nursing home staff and residents’ family members benefit from “sharing the caring” and many valuable insights can be gained by working together cooperatively. Besides increased involvement of families and improved job satisfaction of staff, the PIC Program provides potential health benefits to nursing home residents.

Planning & Implementing the Program

CITRA created a manual for facilitators to conduct the PIC Program in their own nursing home facilities. The manual provides an overview of the goals and activities of the PIC Program and describes all the exercises in detail. It also includes handouts and other resources and materials designed to help with the delivery of the program. Those implementing the program should have experience conducting educational programs in their own facilities, as well as prior experience working with residents’ families. Support from nursing home administrators is critical to the program’s success.

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