What is the most important element of successful teamwork in long-term care communities? The answer, although obvious, is easier said than done—Communication.

Teamwork Training

According to the AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality), effective communication is CRITICAL for efficient teamwork. Furthermore, research conducted by Salas E & Frush K. (2012) notes that developing communication skills for the purpose of teamwork can improve resident safety in long-term care communities. Therefore, teamwork training is well worth the effort!

In fact, teamwork training is not that complicated. Even a little shift in technique can make a huge impact!

The SBAR Technique

The SBAR technique (Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation) is a structured form of communication for healthcare professionals to discuss a resident’s condition. Consequently, the SBAR technique has been successfully applied in many different healthcare settings, which not only improves team communication, but also improves resident safety. 

When you need to communicate with another team member, consider framing the conversation in the following format:

First things first, you want to identify yourself. Then, you will begin with the Situation by stating the problem. What is happening with the resident? Next you will communicate the clinical and personal (yes, personal) Background of the resident. Give pertinent information related to the situation. After that, you will provide your Assessment of the situation. What do you think the problem is? Finally, make your Recommendation. What action would you recommend? Describe what the resident needs and what you want. Also, make sure that you are speaking clearly and concisely. That way, it will prevent miscommunications and misinterpretations.

Below, you will see an example of how to properly use the SBAR technique to communicate information in long-term care communities. 

Practice communicating in the SBAR technique with your team, and watch team communication challenges quickly dissolve!



You knew where you stood with Ralph Shute because he would either meet you with a smile or call you a moron.

Above all else, he was a kind man with a purpose. Those who have met him, remember not only his generosity, but also moments that make you chuckle and shake your head. 

If you couldn’t find him, he was probably at work. And rightfully so, as he had 11 children. With five girls and six boys, the man had many to provide for. 

So where can you find Ralph?

Ralph would be gone before the kids woke up and home after bedtime—six days a week. He was a hardworking man who took pride in his work, working as a longshoreman for 45 years in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was dedicated to his family, and his wife, Mary, who held it down at home.

On his day off, you would often find him working on the house, asking for “help”, although most times, he would end up just doing it himself. You would somehow find yourself holding a board steady for him, helpless, only for him to come and push you out of the way. He was a perfectionist and would marvel at the imperfections of his construction. “Hey! Come look at this—look at how f***ing crooked that is!”

Every summer, he would often take his family to the cottage and stay there for a month or so, commuting two hours to work each way. He loved taking the kids water-skiing, boating, and apple picking, despite catching the odd rotten apple in the thigh after getting caught in the crossfire of a rotten apple fight. 

He spends his remaining years at the cottage, lakeside, with his wife Mary, tinkering around the cottage. 

A man with a quiet interior and a depth that he kept to himself, Ralph Shute was no moron.


Music has become an increasingly popular therapeutic method in long-term care communities. But do you actually know the power of music? Do you know that music has a significant effect on seniors? Let’s dive deep into the music world.

What is Music Therapy

According to the Canadian Association of Music Therapists, “Music therapy is a discipline in which Certified Music Therapists (MTAs) use music purposefully within therapeutic relationships to support development, health, and well-being.”

Knowing this, music therapists can use music to address human needs in the following domains: cognitive, communicative, emotional, musical, physical, social, and spiritual.

Fun Facts about Music

Do you have any fun facts about music? We do.

To start, music helps seniors recall old memories. Why? Because strong emotions are often associated with music, and music can support seniors in retrieving these memories. When was the last time you listened to a song and it took you down memory lane?

Furthermore, when seniors receive one-on-one personal care, music may facilitate their cooperation with caregivers. Research at the Journal of Advanced Nursing found that listening to seniors’ favourite music while receiving care may help reduce care-resistant behaviours.

Finally, music not only helps elders resist loneliness, boredom and isolation, but also alleviates feelings of sorrow and abandonment. Therefore, music can provide additional companionship, especially for seniors with dementia or sensory issues.

So get out your blue suede shoes and put on a little Elvis. Besides person-centred care and communication, music can also play a prominent role in a resident’s day!

Konno R., Kang H.S., Makimoto K. (2014). A best-evidence review of intervention studies for minimizing resistance-to-care behaviours for older adults with dementia in nursing homes. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 70(10), 2167-2180. doi: 10.1111/jan.12432


We’re in the long-term care and hospice care industry because we care about our seniors, however, do we, as care staff and caregivers, care enough about ourselves too?

Pros and Cons of Caregiving

Caregiving is rewarding, but also stressful. It is truly satisfying to provide assistance to another person in need, although at the same time, the emotional and physical stress of caregiving is prevalent, especially when caring for a loved one. 

According to Lawton and his colleagues in the Journal of Gerontology (1991), caregivers may experience prolonged physical and emotional pain, which can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. Therefore, it is crucial for leaders to recognize pain when they see it, and help caregivers receive the mental health support they need to maintain their health and wellness.

Stress Looks Different On Everyone

What does pain and stress look like? Well, it’s different for everyone.

Some may constantly feel worried, depressed and overwhelmed, and therefore miss work or “check out” during the day. With others, you may see a loss of interest in activities they used to love, or notable weight gain or weight loss. Some people may be sleeping too much or too little but still feel exhausted during the day, while others will experience headaches or other physical pain that was not evident in the past. Of course one of the most common signs that someone is in pain or under a lot of stress is how easily they are to become annoyed or angry.

How do you respond to stress?

Let’s Talk About Mental Health

Mental Health needs to be a topic of discussion. Let’s start the conversation, and battle depression and anxiety in the workplace together. Together, we can provide resources for all, and help each other get the mental health treatment and support we deserve. Together, we are strong.

Lawton, M.P., Moss, M., Kleban, M.H., Glicksman, A., & Rovine, M. (1991). A two-factor model of caregiving appraisal and psychological well-being. Journal of Gerontology, 46, 181-189. doi:10.1093/geronj/46.4.P181


Attention all care staff, caregivers and CareStory followers! You really care about residents’ wellness, and you have checked blood pressure nearly thousands of times for seniors…but how long has it been since you checked your own?

Studies at BMC Public Health​​​​​​​ have found that the prevalence of hypertension was significantly higher among caregivers than non-caregivers. Even some small adjustments can make a huge difference in your blood pressure readings. Here are some tips for you:

  1. Drink Wine! — Just kidding. That’s not recommended, but it does pair nicely with a bubble bath on stressful days.
  2. Shed a Couple of Pounds! — We promote body positivity here, however, studies at Harvard Health Publishing show that the most effective way to reduce elevated blood pressure is to lose weight.
  3. Go with a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet. — Choose food that is rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fibre and protein. Also, choose ingredients low in saturated fat and sodium
  4. Exercise. —  Aim for a half-hour exercise daily. It could be running, biking, dancing, or any activities you love.
  5. Limit Alcohol Intake (so much for #1). —  Drinking too much, too often, can increase blood pressure. Try to drink in moderation by limiting your intake to 1 drink or less per day. 
  6. Meditation. — Research at Harvard Health Publishing also found that stress hormones can constrict your blood vessels. Over time, stress can lead to chronic hypertension. Meditation techniques help to reduce stress and lower your blood pressure.

We need you! So please take care of yourselves.



As professionals in the long-term care industry, have you ever heard residents complain about their unpleasant experiences while receiving care? If the answer is yes, we have a question for you. Do you think the caregiving team was working as a unit? Today, CareStory is going to discuss team collaboration.

The Bad News

Based on research published at NCBI, if care staff don’t work smoothly as a team, the community will begin to notice challenges with day-to-day care as a result.

First of all, caregivers may unintentionally overlook symptoms, such as unmanaged pain, dietary issues, sleep patterns, etcThis not only decreases the level of trust between the resident, the family members, and the staff, but it also greatly reduces the resident’s quality of life. Another issue that will present itself due to poor team collaboration is that Nurses may mix up medication among different residents. This happens more than you think, and is a mistake that could cost someone their life. Perhaps the issue we are currently seeing the most of in communities is that residents are being ignored and experiencing limited companionship and interaction.

These scenarios are very real, and may potentially lead to conflicts between residents, their families and everyone else involved in their care.

The Good News

However, if your long-term care community does have challenges with team collaboration, there are things you can do to improve, and quickly at that.

The first thing you can do is learn more about the residents. Get to know their life stories. Even the process of discovery will personalize interactions. Next, administrative staff can set long-term and short-term goals for the team. It is also important to identify how all team members can work together and help each other accomplish these goals. Another thing you can do is set up and consistently update records of important information, such as milestones, setbacks, and achievements. Everything should be easily accessible and in one place so staying up-to-date is simplified. Finally, to improve communication between seniors, the caregiving team, and family members you can adopt CareStory (we had to say it) to make sure everyone is on the same page about everything that matters.

Just know, team collaboration is an ever-changing and ongoing journey that makes the world of difference in any long-term care community.


How to Help a Senior’s Caregiving Team Work Together


Today, CareStory would like to take you into the senior story world and tell you the story of John Drake.

In Portland, Jamaica, you might know John Drake. So who is John Drake? John is a very well-respected businessman and visionary. In fact, he built the Drake legacy from the ground up.

Community Contributor

Passionate for law and politics, John had a lot to say. Because of these passions, John is deeply involved in his community, and he is also an active member of the church.

Moreover, John was very popular and a busy man, working, inspiring the community, and hosting social events. He spent time as a Justice of the Peace and enjoyed being a member of the Freemason Lodge.

Besides these activities, John also had a large appetite for life. He loved going to the horse races at Caymanas and watching cricket matches at Sabina Park.

Successful Investor and Provider

Everybody knew John as a hardworking man and a great provider. He invested in businesses and real estate and his driving force was to support his family.

John owned a number of businesses, such as a hardware store, bar, restaurant, etc. The 52-acre farm is his prized investment. There, you would see cows, pigs, turkeys, chickens, rabbits, ducks, geese, along with gardens, an abundance of fruit trees, and a farmhouse filled with love.

Inside, he raised five children with his wife Cynthia, who he loved and respected dearly. John met Cynthia in church, and married her in 1953 with just a single gold band. They made commitments to each other, and they were partners in every sense of the word.

John was known for his kindness and giving nature, along with his firm hand. Johnny Walker was his signature drink, and he could make a mean Rum Punch.

John spends his remaining years in Portland with his wife Cynthia. Currently, he is still active in the community and taking care of others. If you’re from Portland, you know the name Drake. And if you know the name Drake, you know a good man.

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    Call us


    Visit us anytime

    294 College Street, Toronto, ON, Canada

    Send us an email


    Sign up for Medicare newsletter to receive all the news offers and discounts.

      Social networks





      Copyright by Emersewell Inc. 2020. All rights reserved.

      Copyright by Emersewell Inc. 2020. All rights reserved.