When someone is a resident in a long-term care community, the importance of communication between staff and family members cannot be overstated. It is so important that there has been considerable research into the role it plays.

Sometimes the individual in long-term care may not be willing or able to communicate everything that person wants or needs. In this case, the family can play an important part in the care plan by filling in gaps in the person’s medical history, likes, dislikes, and habits.

Advantages to Staff

When staff communicate regularly with family members, they keep family apprised of any changes in the physical or mental health of the resident or if there are no changes. Staff can help families understand a disease process, and also the policies and procedures of the care community. This prepares family members for visits, and helps them to understand how the resident is cared for.

Simply sharing information can allay fears, reduce complaints, and improve the quality of visits when family members come to see the resident. Even if individual family dynamics prevent good communication amongst themselves, the staff can see beyond that to clearly explain what is happening to and with their loved ones.

Advantages to Family Members

Families are happier when they understand what is happening with their loved ones in long-term care. By receiving regular updates, family members are less stressed, worried, and preoccupied and feel on top of the care plan. Just from receiving regular updates, family members feel like their loved is getting the compassionate care and attention required.

With the help of regular communication, family members not only feel more involved but they also tend to get more involved in care and visit more frequently. This has a domino effect on making the resident happier and more relaxed and improving the resident’s health and overall quality of life.

Advantages to the Resident

Good communication between staff and family is a relief to the resident. For example, residents do not have to be preoccupied with explaining to a family member about a change in medication or activities or schedule, because they know the staff will take care of it. Being happier and more relaxed has a positive effect on both physical and mental health.

How this compassionate communication takes place may vary between care communities and the desires of the family, and there is no one right way to make communication happen. What is important is understanding that communication needs to take place on a regular basis and that this communication benefits everyone involved. This regular communication between staff and family not only benefits everyone involved, but it also is an integral and critical part of top-notch patient care.


H&H Total Care Services is a privately held company based in Surrey, BC, that is a leader in providing senior and young adult residential care services. With communities in both British Columbia and Alberta, H&H Total Care Services offers a wide range of compassionate care services from independent living to long-term complex care.

If you have any questions about this article or would like to talk to us about our range of care services, please feel free to contact us.