What is person-centered care?
Person-centered care is a revolutionary approach to long-term care in assisted living that is being introduced to elder/senior care communities across the nation. It emphasizes decision making involving the resident (senior) and those that work closely with them. This process empowers the care partners, who are involved in the daily care, and the resident in having greater independence in their daily activities. Relationships are at the heart of this philosophy, and as a result, strengthen ties with the care partners, family, friends, and community. Person-centered care encourages the highest level of quality of life and seeks to celebrate the individual, helping them to grow and truly experience a life worth living regardless of their clinical condition(s). Person-centered care is a philosophy that has been embraced by both providers and consumers to improve a facility’s performance and to respond to the nation’s growing elder population. Moreover, it is the way every human being deserves to be treated; with love, respect, dignity, and independence.
What makes person-centered care different?
Long-term assisted living care in most settings is currently delivered through a standard medical model, much like a hospital environment. It is based largely on pre-set schedules to which the individual must conform. Person-centered care, on the other hand, focuses on the individual’s needs and preferences. This means that the resident can be involved in the treatment plan, including such choices as, when to rise, meal choices, social activities, and living environment.
The person-centered care approach seeks to provide an environment that the elder regards as their home, not just home-like. The care team is cross-trained and learns to care for each individual whose social, spiritual and other personal needs differ among residents. It is a welcome change in the way a senior care providers function, in terms of staff training, leadership and care.
Person-Centered Care at Oaks of Bensalem
Oaks of Bensalem has adopted this approach when caring for our residents. This model is specifically incorporated in our Memory Care community where “engagement” activities are used to stimulate mental activity while having fun . Here each resident is served as an individual by care staff that are committed to their happiness and well-being by respecting each person– as they are now. We maintain each resident’s sense of choice, independence, and dignity while assisting with all required daily needs. We respect the “Personhood” of each resident.
Thomas Kitwood, psycho-gerontologist and author, was the innovative mind behind this Personhood approach for Dementia Care. His book “Dementia Reconsidered: the person comes first” (1997), is the best example of all of the work and discoveries Tom Kitwood made during his time researching and training the Person-Centered Care approach for those with dementia. He challenged the ‘old culture of care’ model with his Person centered care approach and the world is gradually transforming the care for seniors in an assisted living environment.