Sensitive to the impact a transfer can have on the well-being of our veterans and their families, Ste-Anne’s Hospital’s Psychological Department conducted a study on the relocation of the institutionalized elderly. Following this study, guidelines were established which led to an official Internal Transfer Follow-up Program that focuses on helping residents and their families adapt to a new lifestyle. This unique program outlines which approach and interventions need to be put in place before, during, and after the transfer to minimize the stress and anxiety inherent in the process, and promote the adaptation of clients and their loved ones to a new setting. The program calls for visits to the new unit by the resident and their loved ones before the transfer. Post-transfer visits from nurses and caregivers from the resident’s original unit are also planned throughout the six weeks following the transfer. These post-transfer visits are key to the program’s success. Among other things, they allow the resident to maintain relationships with known caregivers throughout the adaptation phase, as well as gradually sever these same relationships. Each relocation is evaluated and followed up on in different ways. Adaptation is measured on a grid for screening adaptation difficulties before transfer + pre- and post-transfer observations on a grid with criteria pre-established by the original unit’s care staff + administration of a geriatric depression scale before and after transfer. Satisfaction is measured after the transfer through a telephone survey. Program compliance is verified by the admission and transfer nurse. The head nurses keep track of the evolution of transfer processes with grids that identify all the steps necessary for a transfer to meet the program’s intentions. The approach and the tools that have been developed allow for the rapid detection of adaptation problems and the timely application of corrective measures. At the same time, the approach and tools help identify the positive impact of certain internal transfers. Over the last fiscal year, we have been able to demonstrate that 16/17 relocated residents have not developed depression, and transferred residents and their families have reported a high level of satisfaction. Our practices appear to be pertinent and efficient for avoiding the development of adaptation problems.
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