Do Residential Long-Term Care Policies Support Family Involvement in Residents' Quality of Life in Four Canadian Provinces?

J Aging Soc Policy. 2022 Nov 11;1-25. doi: 10.1080/08959420.2022.2138066. Online ahead of print.


Family members are essential contributors to the quality of life (QoL) of persons living in residential long-term care (RLTC). This paper analyzes how the system enables or inhibits family involvement with residents in RLTC. Our analysis of 21 policies that regulate long-term care in four Canadian Provinces reveal differences in their portrayal of residents' families. Family roles are characterized procedurally (task-oriented) or relationally (interactive). Operational standards linked to licensing of RLTC homes employ more formal terminology, while RLTC program guidelines, use facilitative language to engage families and build relationships. Examples of orientation procedures, care protocols, living at risk, and end-of-life care reveal inter-provincial variations. We argue that there are opportunities to further engage families within the current regulatory framework and improve their continued contributions in the post-pandemic era.

Keywords: Family policy; older Canadians; quality of life; residential long-term care.