Person-Centered Careā€¦a fresh approach!

    A novel term for a fresh approach to care. Changing the culture of nursing home care, resulting in a more nurturing, home environment, isn’t a process that happens overnight.

    In fact, for The Cedars HealthCare Center, the process began years ago. “Our transformation from two 60-bed units to eight 11- to 18-bed ‘neighborhoods’ in March 1999 was the first step toward a home environment,” said Katie Pentz, HealthCare Center Administrator. “The neighborhood concept set the stage for more ongoing changes.”

    The staff-to-resident ratio was increased in the neighborhood concept, allowing more continuity of care. In the family-type atmosphere, staff becomes well acquainted with residents and residents with staff. This consistency also helps staff communicate more effectively with family members.

    “In my years in long-term care I don’t think any change has been more important or more dramatic than the trend to person-centered care,” says Carma Wall, CEO of The Cedars. “We now are putting the residents’ needs above the schedule.”

    “We are giving them choices they would have if they could still live in their own home,” she added.

    To empower the staff, additional training, supervision and support are given.

    Part of the educational process is teaching the staff how to care for the residents’ medical needs by “de-emphasizing” the task and placing the emphasis on the residents, incorporating their participation whenever possible.

    “Giving residents more choices over their daily routines makes the entire working atmosphere less stressful.

    “De-scheduling” tasks is a huge challenge. And the most successful means of meeting that challenge has been to encourage mutual participation. As new residents are admitted, staff find out what their routine was like at home and establish a care plan to accommodate that routine.

    We focus on lifestyle preferences by adding flexibility to schedules and providing opportunities to participate in a variety of activities. The emphasis is on allowing residents to make as many choices as they possibly can.

    For those residents unable to make choices due to dementia or other cognitive or physical impairments, the staff work at validating feelings and recognizing emotions to help residents feel worthwhile and maintain their dignity. 

    “Culture change in nursing homes cannot be accomplished by changes in organizational framework alone,” she added. “It is an ongoing commitment to value changes where the focus of care is not the task, but the resident”