Chapter 7: Family members and nursing home care: lessons from Ontario and Sweden during Covid-19
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In this comparative chapter, we explore family members’ engagement in nursing home care in Ontario, Canada, Stockholm and Sweden during the Covid-19 pandemic. Covid severely impacted residents, and accentuated pre-existing structural issues. In Ontario, Canada, families, who often fill in care gaps, were suddenly banned from nursing homes. Severe staffing shortages created gaps in care and communication issues, leaving families extremely worried about their relatives’ health and safety. Family members collectively advocated for resident information, policy clarification and re-entry. In Sweden, although families were also denied access, higher staffing levels and a system of key contact persons facilitated more trust in care quality and better communication between homes and families. Moving forward, in both jurisdictions, families must be involved in resident care policies. In Ontario, improved staffing levels would allow for relational engagement with residents and families and enable families to be involved in meaningful ways rather than filling in care gaps.