Quality of life: a people-first approach

Nicky Whittaker, national account manager at Miele Professional, looks at the importance of quality of life for care home residents and what steps should be taken to ensure it continues to be a priority, both now and in the future

Quality of life is what makes life worth living. Having a good quality of life makes you want to get up every day, it makes you want to talk to those around you, to engage with daily activities, and encourages you to stay as independent as possible. Making the move from independent living to a residential or nursing home environment can make an individual feel as though they are unable to do things for themselves. Ensuring residents have a good quality of life can significantly change their outlook, as maintaining their independence can provide a sense of purpose and belonging. Taking that away from a person can mean they can quickly become reliant on others and lose their drive and determination – something that is vital for most elderly people.

Impacts of the pandemic

During the pandemic and for some time after, quality of life for residents in many care homes declined due to visitor restrictions, isolation, shielding, and increased hygiene protocols – to name just a few. While these measures were put in place to protect the elderly from the transmission of COVID-19, this came at a cost. We conducted a survey post-pandemic into the future of care, and nearly one third of care home professionals agreed that quality of life for their residents had dropped substantially over a two-year period. In a forum we hosted with care home managers, participants said that residents had to be wrapped up in cotton wool and were not given the experiences they needed to ‘live life’. “While everything is a priority, the number one priority should always be the residents. It’s about quality of life not longevity and that’s been lost a bit,” was one such response

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