“Instead of treating the person as a collection of symptoms and behaviors to be controlled, person-centered care considers the whole person, taking into account each individual’s unique qualities, abilities, interests, preferences and needs.”
There is a growing consensus in the health care industry that individuals should be the heart of the decision making process when it comes to the care they receive. This concept has been embraced by many health organizations and governing bodies and now that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has defined person-centered care as an essential element of quality, care providers need tools and processes to make this a reality.
What can you do to Promote an Environment of Person-Centered care?
Ask the individual questions pertaining to their interests and preferences. Use an assessment tool to capture this information and pass it along to other staff who may find it useful.
Listen to the individual! Even if an individual cannot talk, they are communicating their needs and interest to you.
Incorporate individual preferences and interests into their care plan, activities of daily living, and recreation/leisure opportunities.
Plan activities, events, care, etc. around individual’s desired schedule.
Adapt experiences to the individual’s ability and level of functioning.
Changing The Focus: Quality vs. Quantity
The old philosophy of “the more activities and programs attended, the better” meant sometimes practitioners were focusing on numbers and general involvement, even if the individual wasn’t interested in attending the offered activities. Now, incorporating preferences and abilities are viewed as critical elements in facilitating increased quality of life for participants. This brings us in a direction of valuing quality of programming, or the involvement in meaningful experiences valued by the individual.