relationship based care

According to Creative Health Care Management, relationship-based care (RBC) is “a practical system for total culture transformation.” The RBC model is described in the book “Relationship-Based Care: A Model for Transforming Practice,” which received the Book of the Year Award by the American Journal of Nursing. Implementing the model helps strengthen relationships between residents and staff members, resulting in profoundly positive cultural changes within a long-term care community.

The primary nursing model

According to “Relationship-Based Care: A Model for Transforming Practice,” RBC enhances the relationship between caregiver and resident by replacing a team-based nursing system with one that is centered on primary nursing. In the primary nursing care model, each resident has one nurse who is assigned the full responsibility of coordinating that individual’s care. With continuity of care in place, this allows the nurse to develop an extensive personal knowledge of the resident’s history so that he or she can immediately notice when something out of the ordinary is occurring with the resident. In addition, with the continuity of care model, the nurse and resident will become more comfortable with one another’s personal style of communication and develop a deep trust and understanding of one another. According to research by M. Robin DiMatteo, PhD, “The spoken word is the most important tool in medicine.”

Improved caregiver self-awareness

In their book, The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace, psychologists Daniel Goleman and Cary Cherniss point out that in order to provide high-quality care to others, a caregiver needs to have the skills and knowledge to manage their own internal emotional needs. They have to be able to navigate and relieve the inevitable stresses of their job and be able to articulate their own needs. They must develop a strong value system, as well as a clear view of their own strengths and weaknesses so that they can maintain their own mental and physical health in the face of a demanding job. 

Improved staff relationships

The UCLA Department of Nursing Research and Clinical Practice Program has determined that relationship-based care is the best nursing method for achieving excellent results in staff relating to residents, themselves, and their colleagues. The RBC model states that focusing on building an environment of respect between providers is crucial to creating a truly caring atmosphere for residents. As the creators of RBC affirm, a compassionate work environment is created when caregivers provide one another with enough support to solve problems creatively and as a team. This approach to care creates a sense of community between staff members. In a respectful and compassionate work environment, employees will be more likely to affirm and praise their teammates’ skills and contributions, resulting in a more team-oriented approach to care. 

Assessing caregivers who fit RBC

Research in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society demonstrates that a lower level of turnover in nursing staff is correlated with better resident health and fewer hospitalizations. Each workplace has a specific culture, and staff retention is based on finding individuals who are a good fit for the unique culture of that community. A long-term care community structured around the RBC model requires employees who will thrive in this interdependent and compassionate environment. Talent management technology, such as behavioral assessment software, enables long-term care professionals to assess specific competencies that are crucial for nursing and caregiving positions in this environment, such as compassion, communication skills, and customer-focus. The behavioral assessment solution can help talent acquisition professionals and hiring managers identify the strongest candidates according to these parameters so that they can hire nurses and caregivers to provide high-quality relationship-based care.  

Interested in learning how performance goals relate to resident satisfaction and how performance management software helps improve the resident experience? Download this free e-booklet: The Three Step Process for Successful Employee Goal Management to learn more.

About The Editorial Staff

The Editorial Staff is a team of writers with a passion for helping healthcare organizations manage their biggest and most important investment: their employees.