When people come together in groups, it's generally because they have something in common. That might lead us to think they're mostly the same as we come to identify them as the group rather than as individuals. Years ago, senior care centers fell into that standardized, one-size-fits-all approach. They had residents needing care, and they cared for the residents all the same way. They cared for them as a group.
Fortunately, times have changed, and a new approach to healthcare is emerging. Person-centered care focuses on the unique needs of each individual to provide the highest quality care experience.
It sounds great in theory, of course, but what does it actually mean? To start with, it's about communication, personalization, education, respect, comfort, teamwork, safety, and empowerment. These are just a few of the ways person-centered care can make a difference in a resident's daily life.
A Team Effort
In a person-centered care environment, healthcare providers work with the resident and his or her family to create a plan that best suits the resident. Communication is key: providers listen to any concerns voiced by the resident or the family members and take ideas and suggestions into consideration.
If a resident isn't a morning person, there's no reason to schedule his physical therapy at 8:00am. If someone's not hungry at lunchtime, she can choose to eat later in the day. The old approach insisted upon rigid schedules and required residents to conform regardless of their needs and preferences. Person-centered care provides flexibility to suit each individual's lifestyle. This includes a variety of activities to encourage physical activity, socialization, creativity, and continued growth and learning according to the resident's interests.
Every resident has different values, beliefs, likes, dislikes, and ideals. These are acknowledged and respected throughout the course of treatment in a person-centered care environment. This includes religious and moral beliefs and, whenever possible, preferences for certain foods, colors, clothing, activities, and more.
Physical, Mental, and Emotional Health
Each resident is a complex human being. While traditional care facilities may have focused strictly on the physical ailment, person-centered care recognizes a person's mental and emotional needs, as well. If there is emotional or mental unrest, true health is not possible, even if the physical concern is cured. Instead of a decision being focused on a physical health condition, decisions are focused on the person.
High-Tech, Comfortable Environments
Perhaps you visited a grandparent or great-grandparent in an old "nursing home": it was sterile and hospital-like and far from welcoming. No wonder these homes had a bad reputation. A person-centered care facility, on the other hand, is friendly and community-oriented. Care is taken with design and decor to create a comfortable space. The best healthcare technology is only the beginning; a truly person-centered approach includes consideration of day-to-day comforts, extensive safety considerations, and special touches. The focus is on creating an environment that feels like home.
Residents in a person-centered care center are encouraged to ask questions and take control of their health. Education is valued: experienced healthcare professionals are patient, compassionate, and willing to take the time necessary to help each resident understand her condition, treatment options, and course of action. Residents are empowered to take action (as is safe and appropriate) to promote their own well-being.
Church Home LifeSpring is proud to say we've been incorporating person-centered care into our healthcare approach. Studies have demonstrated, and we strongly agree, this approach leads to a more positive care experience for each resident and more positive outcomes. If you'd like to learn more about the person-centered care difference, we invite you to contact us.