Person-Centered Care (PCC) as it relates to elder care has been a rapidly growing philosophy for many years now. You can find it in CMS regulations and guidelines, and discussed at most senior living conferences. Pretty much every senior living provider, in one form or another, says they are delivering PCC. It’s safe to say that it is finally mainstream in the senior living category.
What Exactly Is Person-Centered Care?
Person-centered living encompasses care, services, and meaningful engagement that are planned according to residents’ personal preferences, values, and goals. This approach honors each senior’s dignity, choice, self-determination, and individuality, which enhances quality of life and quality of care for seniors. Some senior living facilities have been implementing this philosophy for years, so it’s already ingrained in their culture, while some are still catching up.
Why It’s Necessary?
Well . . . why wouldn’t it be necessary? People are living longer now and have the ability to play a bigger role in deciding the type of care they’d like to receive. By promoting and facilitating greater responsibility, residents are more likely to engage in treatment decisions, feel supported to make behavioral changes, and feel empowered to self-manage. Plus, when direct support staff knows the resident well, they can provide care that is more specific to their needs and ultimately provide better care.
How could anyone not love the idea that residents should be in control of their own destiny? Especially since growing old is inevitable—we’ll all have to make these decisions down the road one way or another.
Person-Centered Care Done Right
The philosophy of PCC has been discussed for 20 years now. It’s not new, but not all communities are truly implementing what it takes to best deliver the desired level of care this main stream philosophy entails.
The ones that have implemented it shifted their culture and approach by ensuring all direct support staff truly learns the individual wants and needs of each resident they care for, so they can provide personalized care and empower them to live fulfilling lives—even in their later years. This philosophy has been ingrained in many senior living cultures for years now, but what progress have we made towards the old institutional, hospital-like settings we’re all so familiar with?
Green House Homes
One of the leading organizations fostering PCC is The Green House Project. It’s been proven that PCC is best delivered in home-like settings. In Green House homes, elders are known as creative, resourceful, and whole people who deserve meaningful lives. Relationships are the cornerstone of this model, where an elder’s natural rhythms and preferences are honored. It is a place where quality of life and quality of care go hand in hand.
A Green House home is created from the ground up to foster the same feeling and experience you get from living in a real home. Each home is designed for 10-12 elders, keeping it warm and personal. The comfort of private rooms and bathrooms is combined with the family-like atmosphere of open common spaces.
These homes prevent lack of individualized attention, isolation and loneliness, and loss of independence, focusing on comfort, independence and well-trained staff attentive to each resident’s individualized needs.
As Rochesterians, we should be proud. Many of our local senior living communities have truly embraced not only the shift in culture, but the shift in setting. For instance, Jewish Senior Life, one of our clients, is already ahead of the curve and in the process of building new Green House Homes in Brighton, NY.
How do you feel about person-centered care? Do you think it’s mainstream or still could use work? I’d love to hear from you.