BUZZWORD: Person Centered Care
If you are caring for a loved one or are shopping for paid assistance you have likely heard the term “person-centered care”.This is a commonly used phrase, BUZZWORD, that indicates that the service/treatment in question focuses on what each individual client needs and prefers rather than a cookie-cutter full-range of services provided Person-centered care is a philosophical approach to service development and service delivery that sees services provided in a way that is respectful of and responsive to the preferences, needs and values of people and those who utilize that care or service.
The Concept of BUZZWORD
This concept, when fully implemented, centers around the concept of “person-hood” and fully embraces care or services that thoroughly encompasses everything about a person that makes them unique: character, preferences, interests, life history, skills and experiences.
Simply stated, think of the difference between a build your own burger restaurant as opposed to ordering a traditional Big Mac straight off the menu at McDonalds. Now, there is nothing wrong with a Big Mac but maybe you would prefer not to have special sauce or maybe you are allergic to onions and you want something a little different than stated.Same concept.Caring, thoughtful consideration to your specific needs/likes and dislikes regarding your care and selection of services. All care or services should be like this!If your service/care provider listens carefully there will be little magic pieces of information that make experience better – for everyone.
How We Implement Person Centered Care
As your local Right at Home provider of in-home care and assistance, let me refer to the home care arena.We try to get to know our clients — what is their color preference, favorite sports team, hobbies and activities current and past; foods they like (or absolutely hate); birthdays, holiday preferences, family members, their professions and that of their spouse, if applicable.Knowing an individual’s person-hood can significantly affect their continued well-being and social interactions. Don’t we all feel better when things “go our way”; when our favorite food is presented; or when we are engaged in a topic of interest to us?
As our loved ones experience cognitive changes whether brought on by pain, frustration with growing older and the change in our abilities, or even changes brought on by dementia related symptoms they live easier, happier, and with less out bursts and emotional trauma when their needs and wishes are respected.
How Can You Identify Person-Centered Care/Services?
- The services and philosophy values people treating them with dignity and respect by being aware of and supporting personal perspectives, values, beliefs and preferences. Listening to each other and working in partnership to design and deliver services.
- Autonomy is demonstrated by the provision of choice and subsequent respect for choices made. Balancing rights, risks and responsibilities. Optimizing a person’s control through the sharing of power and decision-making. Maximizing independence by building on individual strengths, interest and abilities
- Life experience honored by supporting the sense of self; understanding the importance of a person’s past, their present-day experience, and their hopes for the future.
- Communication from the service provider been clear and is presented in a way in which you understand.; promoting respect for you, as an individual.
- Collaborative relationships are formed between the service providers and service user; their careers and between staffing levels. Social connectedness through the local community through opportunities to engage in meaningful activities are encouraged and supported
- Organizational values are underpinned by person-centered principles. Responsive support that is responsive to individual needs. A planned, organization-wide effort to individual and organizational learning.
- Feedback process and mechanisms are in place if you are not happy.Ideally, there is there an independent and non-confrontational way to share your concerns or opinions (such as a third-party survey).
Person-centered care provides that level of respect that we all wish to experience. Knowing an individuals’ quirky sayings, habits and routines helps identify meaningful and enjoyable activities to participate in rather than imposing a list of mandated care tasks. Professionals at all levels of care/service provision (yes, even doctors, nurses, and the receptionist) who are trained in person-centered care to work with the individual and their family and support networks to help them understand why behaviors, interactions and personality may change based on what has learned about their person-hood.
While the person-centered approach seems ideal this philosophy can be difficult to implement in every setting. I believe that it is a goal worth striving for, especially in settings where opportunities exist for relationships to be formed with repeated interaction. Think about your favorite waitress or waiter; consider the person at Starbucks who knows your name and exactly how you like your beverage, or the clerk at the store where you shop regularly. The best experiences are person-centered. Sometimes IT'S all about you!