The training for 10,000 beneficiary attendants announced by the Quebec government will begin shortly. This is a profession of paramount importance and which has finally won its acclaim. In a few months, you will find yourself working with seniors or people living with several disabilities in CHSLDs. What an important and rewarding moral responsibility to take care of the most vulnerable!
Humanity and benevolence: a balm on arrival and throughout the experience in CHSLD
If the stages of life involve renouncements, they allow us to gain autonomy and freedom. From entering school to leaving the family nest, starting your professional life, changing careers or changing houses, you always gain something. However, the person who will go to live in a CHSLD did not make this choice. In addition, this chapter involves several bereavements in the new resident who has less capacity in order to adapt to it. This step is also difficult for families who are distressed, exhausted and have the feeling of abandoning their loved one.
As a beneficiary attendant, you will have a key role to play because of the important responsibilities entrusted to you. Thanks to your kindness and your sensitivity, you will be a balm throughout this new stage, and this, both for the people you will take care of and for their families who will be reassured to see their loved one treated humanely.
Living in a CHSLD: a living environment, several basic needs
The disabilities faced by CHSLD residents are not only a loss, but also a threat to dignity after decades of autonomy that they have enjoyed throughout their lives.
Because they can no longer assume their basic needs themselves, your presence by their side and your help as a beneficiary attendant will allow them to meet their basic needs and preserve their dignity; whether it’s washing them, feeding them, dressing them, styling them, interacting with them, all with sensitivity and kindness. Residents will also be able to live with a feeling of physical and emotional security on a daily basis thanks to the way you behave with them, talk to them, listen to them and take care of them with respect, tact and gentleness.
Better understand the behavior of residents … to react better
People living in CHSLDs suffered physical losses, but especially cognitive losses. They may find it difficult to express their needs, to understand or to remember certain directives. Patience can be put to the test if you don’t understand where some of their behavior comes from. Even with the best of intentions, this misunderstanding can lead to psychological mistreatment, an insidious phenomenon that escapes us and whose consequences we too often underestimate. For example, a meal tray that arrives too quickly from a resident with a visual perception problem resulting from a brain injury may be perceived or felt as an assault. This can then lead to an abrupt reaction in the elderly feeling frightened or attacked. Knowing this, simply announcing their presence and speaking to the resident upon arriving in their room will help prevent and avoid such situations.
In the same way, a language comprehension disorder in the CHSLD resident can also cause such behaviors. Also, repeating the same instructions in the same way, but louder and louder, will not help the elder who has difficulty understanding language. Treating someone like he is deaf when he is not deaf is likely to cause a lot of anxiety at home: he will not understand these instructions better, but will certainly understand that he is yelled at.
It should be remembered that the majority of problematic behaviors do not manifest themselves by choice, but in reaction to such situations. I cannot list all of the cognitive issues these residents may experience, but keep in mind that these do exist, and that there are many. Stay tuned, observe, and try to understand what generates the different behaviors and reactions of the people you will care for.
A mountain of empathy, an ocean of kindness and a universe of patience
When you take care of residents in CHSLDs, do it in all humanity, as if it were your father, your mother … or yourself. At times, and all the more so when you are more stressed or tired, it will require a mountain of empathy, an ocean of kindness and a universe of patience. And when you look at them, tell yourself this: I am what you have been, and I may one day become what you are.