Partners in Caregiving in Assisted Living (PICAL)
CITRA’s Partners in Caregiving in Assisted Living (PICAL) Program is an abbreviated version of its Partners in Caregiving (PIC) Program, which was developed for nursing homes. Instead, PICAL addresses the unique communication challenges that assisted living staff and families face to improve the quality of care for assisted living residents. Similar to PIC, PICAL is based on an empowerment approach where assisted living 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.
Goals & Objectives of the Program
The main goal of PICAL is enhance communication between assisted living staff and families so that they can work together to care for residents. Family-staff relationships can sometimes be strained and conflictual rather than cooperative in assisted living communities, leading to a reduction in family involvement in residents’ care. PICAL 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 PICAL Program consists of two parallel workshop series: one for assisted living staff and one for residents’ family members. The staff training is primarily structured as an in-service (1 or 3 hour options). The family training includes is structured as a workshop (1 or 3 hour options). 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
PICAL provides communication and conflict resolution skill training to assisted living staff and residents’ families. Assisted living 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 assisted living 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 PICAL Program provides potential health benefits to assisted living residents.
Planning & Implementing the Program
CITRA created manuals for facilitators to conduct the PICAL Program in their own assisted living communities (two options; see Training Options below). The manuals provide an overview of the goals and activities of the PICAL Program and describe all the exercises in detail. They also include 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 communities, as well as prior experience working with residents’ families. Support from assisted living administrators is critical to the program’s success.
There are two options for facilitators to conduct the PICAL Program:
Option 1: One-Hour Training
This option includes two one-hour training videos for facilitators, one designed to be used for a staff in-service training and one intended to be used as a family workshop. The videos are accompanied by a training guide, which provides background about the PICAL program, instructions for using the video, and handouts. The videos are designed so that assisted living staff and residents’ family members attend separate workshops and view slightly different videos. Each video has approximately 30 minutes of lecture. Instructions are provided for stopping the videos at several points so a facilitator can lead a guided role play and discussion. This option does not include a joint session staff, families, and the administrators of the assisted living community at the end of the program.
Option 2: Three-Hour Training
This option provides a more in-depth training manual (without videos) for facilitators to lead longer training sessions with assisted living staff and residents’ family members. Similar to the one-hour option, this option includes parallel workshops for staff and family members. However, both these trainings are three-hours in length. The basic curriculum is similar to the one-hour option with the addition of more skill building activities and practice exercises. This option also includes a joint session with staff, families, and the administrators of the assisted living community at the end of the program. This final session provides administrators with a unique opportunity to learn how staff and families perceive the community and allows them to participate in brainstorming policies and practices to better family-staff relations.