Person Centered Care- Concept Worth Revisiting

Patient or Person-centered care  is one of those concepts everyone supports– but how those concepts are implemented across the spectrum of care and among agencies, will differ.  Roy Gerstenberger, Executive Director of Community Bridges has researched a one page profile for home care staff.  Developing the tool as a team can begin the discussion of what your home care team  hopes to achieve with the Person centered care approach.

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Personalize the Profile

A “One Page Profile” is a tool that can put the people we serve at the center of their own home health care, significantly changing the way care is provided. It can also affect the experiences of the home health care worker – bringing fulfilling and meaningful value to how they carry out their daily responsibilities. It is one of several skills used in an approach to care known at person-centered thinking.

One Page Profiles help home health care workers personalize care to the individuals they serve. When used properly, they can contribute to a higher level of care and a more rewarding experience for all those involved.  One Page Profiles can be used in any setting and help to advance goals to deliver person-centered support. In order to make real and permanent change, person-centered practices must be a pervasive presence throughout the entire operations of a home health agency.

Identifying Profile Content

The typical One Page Profile is a simple, easy-to-reference document that contains important information about the individual receiving care. Content is typically organized into three areas, with each containing a descriptive list:

“What people appreciate about me” – Positive qualities that people identity with the individual, such as their sense of humor, gentle nature or caring personality
“What is important to me” – Preferences and priorities, including favorite activities, people to be around and places to go
“How to support me” – Ways that an individual prefers to be treated as well as insight into what positively and negatively impacts them

Person Centered Care Resources

The Learning Community for Person Centered Practices (TLCPCP), an international organization dedicated to fostering a global community that shares knowledge about supporting people in getting the lives they want, offers an online “Reading Room” with a variety of resources available for review. Access the Reading Room at http://www.learningcommunity.us

Staff, administrators and family members can all learn person-centered thinking through workshops designed to introduce these basic skills and build networks of positive practice. Here in New Hampshire, Bridges: Professional Development Center for Person Centered Values offers workshops with facilitators credentialed by TLCPCP. Learn more at www.bridgescenter.org.

Other good resources on Person Centered Care are linked below:

An Example of a One Page Profile in Practice

Sharon and Charlie

Sharon works as a health care worker and enjoys looking after the people she visits, but over time she finds her job less rewarding. Her days are defined by the current system demands for routine and efficiency, making her feel like just one anonymous player in a larger industry.

Charlie is an older man whom she visits. He has dementia and he and his family set up home health care services early when he was able to participate in that decision. His services are directed to keeping him safe and comfortable but he is not happy. He feels that he’s lost not only his short-term memory but also who he is as a person. However, as home health care agencies we know that there is more to Sharon and Charlie than just this.

Thankfully, Sharon works for an agency where she has a One Page Profile that includes information about what people like and admire about her, what’s important to her and what others can do to help her be at her very best in her daily work. By creating this profile her manager and co-workers know more about Sharon as a person; that she is a passionate follower of the races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon and that she takes pride in her children’s success in the local community actors club.

Sharon knows what others admire about her; that she is optimistic, caring and compassionate. This makes her feel more valued. Others have also learned that one of the ways that she can be at her best is to have quiet time for meditation with some of her favorite country tunes on her iPod.

Charlie’s family worked together to create his One Page Profile and it can be found as the cover sheet of his home care plan. That means that everyone who comes into contact with him can help him be himself. For example, everyone now knows that he prefers to be called “Charlie”; not Charles or Mr. Thibodeau. Sharon knows that Charlie was once an expert mechanic and can speak at length about the cars that pass along the way on race weekends as well as a little about the history of racing in New Hampshire. While he rarely becomes agitated she knows just what to look out for if he is unhappy and the best way to respond to help him feel more comfortable.

Charlie now feels more understood; the people who come through his door every day value his decisions and who he is as a person. There are other changes as well. Sharon views her work as helping people live their lives instead of just being a service provider. She helps with meal time and bath time instead of “giving” someone a bath or lunch.

These are small changes but they loom large in the overall experience and she’s seen changes in the happiness of those she visits.

Roy Gerstenberger is the Executive Director of Community Bridges, a non-profit agency serving the communities of central New Hampshire. With 30 years of experience in human services as a teacher, clinical consultant and manager, Roy is a firm believer in person-centered thinking as an evolution in human services and a powerful tool for fully integrating people in their own social care. Roy can be reached at rgerstenberger@bridgescenter.org.

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