Judy Brown can feel the love anytime she visits her sister Carol Gauthier at the Beach Grove Home.
Since moving into the long-term care facility about five years ago, Brown has seen her sister more relaxed than in previous accomodations, social with other residents and staff and included in numerous different activities at the home.
Visiting her sister anywhere from three to seven times a week, Brown added that she has always felt welcome during those visits.
That welcoming atmosphere ultimately makes it more comfortable for Brown and the rest of her family.
"We feel Carol is really well looked after and we can feel the love. We feel like the staff love her, she loves the staff and she has no complaints," said Brown at Beach Grove Home's Family Connection event on Sunday.
The event was an opportunity for family members of the home's residents to meet the staff, each other and to add their own recommendations for the long-term care facility. An earlier Family Connection event was previously held at Prince Edward Home.
Andrew MacDougall, Health P.E.I.'s administrator for long-term care in Queens County, said there will be a review of feedback that family member's offered in the event's discussion groups, and that the facility intends to proceed with similar events on a regular basis.
"We strongly value the role that the residents loved ones, we do recognize to advance the quality of life for residents involves having a strong partnership and relationship with family members," said MacDougall. "We believe this is more than just an oratorical concept and nice words. We are very much interested in working with them to find how we can advance the person-centred care and quality improvement agenda."
Making the long-term care facility actually feel like a home for its residents is a central idea to the "person-centred care" concept, explained Debye Macdonald-Connolly, a seniors mental health consultant with Health P.E.I.
Macdonald-Connolly added it includes; partnering with families to bring options, joy and quality of life to residents, respecting residents' unique values and goals, and their right to make decisions, live with dignity and participate fully in their environment.
"Make the facility home, its as simple as that," she said. "In the past, we might have thought that good care is primarily around clinical needs. We (now) know the quality of care is really built on healthy relationships. If we have very good strong relationships with families, if we have good relationships with the residents who live here and amongst our staff, it is going to make life better for the residents.
"It doesn't mean that clinical care isn't important, but it should be a partner with quality of life."
MacDonald-Connolly added that all of the province's public and private nursing homes now have a committee or group working on how to make their facility more like home.
Marilyn Kennedy, who's mother Evelyn Larter lives at the home, has worked in long-term care for a number of years.
Familiar with the person-centred concept, Kennedy said she feels her mother has received "excellent" care during her past two years at the home.
"It makes a very big difference when you have all professionally-trained staff providing the care," said Kennedy. "And that's very evident (here)."
While Macdonald-Connolly said staff have jumped on board to the concept, person-centred care is also evident in the welcoming environment of the home's decorated hallways, which change every season.
MacDougall pointed out other changes, such as moving to a de-centralized dining model, where residents have their food served out on plates in a social atmosphere, rather than having trays carted to their rooms. The cafeteria has also taken on the much more personal presence of a cafe, while even the facility's paint selections are now based on research for making a more comfortable living environment.
As well, the language has changed, with "being admitted" now more accurately referred to as moving in, added Macdonald-Connolly.
"This is their (residents') home. You don't get admitted to a home, you move in," she said.
It's a statement that is certainly true for Carol, said Brown of her sister.
"It feels like home to her (Carol)," said Brown. "She calls it home."