A toolkit for relational care in care homes has been published by the Open University.
Based on research funded by Hallmark Foundation, the toolkit offers practical support on the model of relational care, which is described as “a natural progression from person-centred care”.
According to the research, there are three key components of relational care in practice: an atmosphere of respect, trust and inclusivity that nurtures belonging; a purposeful focus on relationships; and a physical environment that facilitates the nurturing of those relationships and of individual autonomy.
Relational care is said to emphasise the primacy of relationships and human interdependence, the need to give as well as receive, and to be recognised as having an intrinsic value. The model emphasises care where staff do things ‘with’ rather than ‘for’ residents. Examples of relational care in practice include the following:
- staff have the freedom to be creative in their approach to care and to engaging with residents in shared activities
- pre-admission assessments and meetings help to ensure a good ‘fit’ for residents, address any potential problems and ensure the nature of the community is not disrupted
- residents can play a role in the life of the care setting, using objects and carrying out tasks that fit their sense of identity
- residents and staff are consulted when changes are made
- different cultures and backgrounds are enjoyed and their distinctive contributions valued noticeboards support a sense of togetherness and fun, and can be used to canvass opinion.
Benefits include improving the wellbeing and quality of life of those living and working in care settings and increased staff satisfaction, creativity, motivation and retention.
Hallmark Care Homes already implement relational care. Company chair Avnish Goyal, CBE said: “Relational care supports happier older people, it makes our homes happier places, and it makes for happier team members. A real win-win-win which I recommend to all care providers.”
Download the toolkit
Other resources can be accessed from OpenLearn