Person-Centered Care: Strategies, Standards, and Personal Attitude
Every person deserves successful and satisfying aging despite various weakening conditions that develop with age. To ensure that people age with dignity, long-term care facilities have begun to adopt person-centered care (PCC). This paper will describe PCC, strategies to implement PCC in residential care homes, and the Canadian Gerontological Nursing Association’s (CGNA) standards supporting PCC. Finally, I will discuss my thoughts and feelings about care experienced by residents and how their experiences will influence my practice.
PCC refers to the type of care focused on individuals and their values and experiences. PCC is a care philosophy that is centered on a person’s identity and autonomy and respects individual preferences related to care (Caspar et al., 2021). It means that nurses implementing PCC pay attention to their patients’ beliefs and values and encourage them to participate in decision-making regarding their care. A critical element of PCC is trusting relationships between residents and the staff (Fazio et al., 2018). According to this philosophy, nurses should not only accomplish tasks that constitute care but also be compassionate and respectful toward residents to help them maintain their dignity and autonomy. Research shows that PCC is beneficial for both residents and the staff (Fazio et al., 2018). In particular, PCC improves residents’ psychological well-being and decreases behavioral symptoms in patients with dementia (Fazio et al., 2018). In the personnel, the use of PCC reduces stress, job dissatisfaction, burnout, and turnover intentions (Fazio et al., 2018). Thus, PCC is a suitable care philosophy for long-term care facilities.
Strategies to Implement PCC
There are several PCC strategies that nurses can implement in residential care homes. First, nurses should build trusting and respecting relationships with residents. They can do so by focusing on the interaction rather than the task when providing care to residents (Fazio et al., 2018). For example, nurses can socialize with patients, smile, and make eye contact. Second, nurses should honor residents’ dignity and identity. Caspar et al. (2021) suggest specific strategies for doing so during mealtimes, which include using a napkin when helping residents eat, offering assistance, and asking and respecting residents’ eating preferences and traditions. Third, the staff should create opportunities for residents’ engagement in care. This strategy is necessary to promote autonomy and engagement and build a supportive community (Fazio et al., 2018). To implement it in practice, nurses can engage residents in different activities, such as setting the table, and ask them about preferred fun activities.
Standards of Practice Supporting PCC
To support older adults’ changing needs, the CGNA has issued six standards of practice for gerontological nurses. One of these standards related to PCC is relational care, which requires nurses to provide care with empathy, respect, and reciprocity (Canadian Gerontological Nursing Association [CGNA], 2020). It supports PCC because it emphasizes relationships between nurses and older adults and respect for residents’ preferences reflecting their cultural backgrounds and experiences (CGNA, 2020). By adhering to the principle of relational care, the residential care home staff follows the PCC philosophy that stresses the importance of interpersonal relationships and an individual’s identity. Another standard supporting PCC is ethical care, according to which nurses should be guided by ethical principles in their practice (CGNA, 2020). It supports PCC because it encourages nurses to address individuals’ rights for inclusion and autonomy, joint decision-making, and access to care tailored to individual preferences and culture (CGNA, 2020). By following this standard, nurses promote older adults’ independence and autonomy and support individuals’ engagement in shared care-related decision-making, which aligns with the PCC philosophy.
Thoughts and Feelings About Experiencing PCC
Donnelly and MacEntee’s (2016) article has allowed me to view residential care from a new perspective. If a loved one or I experienced the care described in this article, I would feel that I was a burden to the nursing staff. In particular, Donnelly and MacEntee (2016) state that nurses may ignore residents’ requests for assistance even with simple matters because of lack of time or care. In such situations, I would feel abandoned and dependent on other people, which would negatively affect my psychological well-being. Further, when I read a part about maintaining dignity, I realized that I would feel ashamed if I was wheeled down the hallway half-naked. I have a strong need for privacy, and this kind of treatment would make me feel humiliated. The impossibility of having a bath whenever I want would also be discouraging. Perhaps, I would be able to put up with it, but it would make my life less comfortable and satisfying. Overall, I agree with one resident’s opinion that a caring job is not for everyone. When pursuing this career, one should be sincerely willing to help people.
The Article’s Influence on Nursing Practice
The key change in my nursing practice will be shifting from task-oriented to relationship-oriented work. I have realized how important it is not to perceive residents as mere objects of care since each of them is a person with a unique identity and life story. Additionally, I will not treat older adults as if they were children and will respect their autonomy by taking an interest in their preferences and values. Finally, I will be compassionate toward residents and be willing to assist them when they need help to prevent them from feeling abandoned and unwanted.
Although PCC can be difficult to implement because of nurses’ high workload and the nursing shortage, it has been shown to improve residents’ and the staff’s psychological well-being and satisfaction. Therefore, nurses should try to incorporate this person-centered and relationship-oriented care philosophy into their practice. By doing so, they can establish trusting relationships with residents, reinforce their unique identities, and support their autonomy, independence, and dignity.
Canadian Gerontological Nursing Association. (2020). Gerontological nursing standards of practice and competencies (4th ed.). Web.
Caspar, S., Davis, E., Berg, K., Slaughter, S. E., Keller, H., & Kellett, P. (2021). Stakeholder engagement in practice change: Enabling person-centred mealtime experiences in residential care homes. Canadian Journal on Aging, 40(2), 248-262. Web.
Donnelly, L., & MacEntee, M. I. (2016). Care perceptions among residents of LTC facilities purporting to offer person-centred care. Canadian Journal on Aging, 35(2), 149-160. Web.
Fazio, S., Pace, D., Flinner, J., & Kallmyer, B. (2018). The fundamentals of person-centered care for individuals with dementia. The Gerontologist, 58(suppl_1), S10-S19. Web.