The Case for Cohort Residences in Long Term Care

One of the most important factors in controlling the spread of COVID-19 in long term care has been the ability to cohort residents: to create smaller groupings of residents to improve infection control. Self-contained living units such as households accomplish this goal while still supporting and fostering relationships.

Household-type facilities are designed to operate like a family home. There’s usually a grouping of 6 to 10 residents around a living/dining area. Meals are prepared in a residential-type kitchen. A self-managed team stays with each household. They are specifically trained as care partners: they provide personal care, meal preparation, laundry, light housekeeping and companionship. Staff here feel more satisfied than those working in institutional-style facilities. Schedules are flexible and determined by the residents. This is especially important for people living with dementia since they need familiarity.

Better approaches to long-term care are being called for by governments, families of people in long-term care, baby boomers and the National Institute on Ageing (NIA). The NIA’s recent report Enabling the Future Provision of Long-Term Care in Canada describes new approaches and models of long-term care that promote person-centred and flexible care.

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