Engaging and Empowering Health Care Aides in Long Term Care

Implementing a Responsive Leadership Intervention in Long Term Care Facilities: A Pilot Study



Health care aides (HCA) provide 80-90 per cent of the direct care to our long-term care residents and have the most complete understanding of their unique care needs. However, research shows their valuable knowledge is often not shared with care team leaders and does not influence care plans or larger organizational care decisions. There are few opportunities for formal exchange of information and health care aides prefer to share information orally. This study used the Responsive Leadership Intervention as a tool to help improve information exchange among team members and ultimately improve the quality of care of seniors living in long term care facilities.


Lead: Sienna Caspar, Research Director, Bethany Care. Sites include Bethany Care Cochrane, Bethany Care Harvest Hills, Capital Care Grandview and Capital Care Strathcona


The Responsive Leadership Intervention has three components: (1) a one-day workshop focused on responsive leadership strategies including: timely follow-up, support for autonomy, non-controlling positive feedback, and acknowledging the other’s perspective; (2) implementation of care-team huddles into the daily care practice; and (3) a team-leader support system.

Evaluation of this intervention from two control sites and two intervention sites revealed that the Responsive Leadership Intervention improved responsiveness and supportive leadership practices, while also improving health care aide individualized care to residents.


The Network offered a one and a half day Responsive Leadership Training Workshop March 21 and 22, 2017.  Day 1 was for senior leaders, care managers and clinical nurse educators to build capacity, followed by a half day train-the-trainer session for educators to provide them with the knowledge and skills to become trainers within their organizations.