Care professionals have long focused on meeting participants’ special physical needs. But Person Centered Care moves beyond disease-focused thinking that stresses disabilities and personal deficits, to ability-based care that fulfills the social, psychological and physical needs of a person with cognitive and physical impairments.
All behavior is an attempt to communicate, and satisfaction is easily — and all too often — undermined when any person is treated as an object or child rather than as an adult. Jentle Harts understands that one of our greatest responsibilities is to view ourselves as authentic care partners: honestly attempting to interpret common behaviors and their underlying meanings, and helping sustain personhood. We can help care partners enhance participants’ well-being by attending to their core psychological needs and supporting them.
These core psychological needs are:
- love (unconditional acceptance),
- comfort (meeting basic physiological, emotional and pain management needs)
- attachment (feeling psychologically close to another person),
- occupation (having purpose in daily life), and
- inclusion (feeling connected to someone or belonging).
When care plans are written that address these core needs, behaviors can be transformed from problematic to acceptable in a congregate setting. The essence of person centered care depends upon meeting these core needs.
Jentle Harts’ trainings review common terms and how demeaning some labels become. Would you like to be known as the “person with the disability of dementia” or the “demented participant,” “the shell,” “vegetable,” “spitter,” “wetter,” “wanderer,” or other descriptive terms which dehumanize and devalue the very person you profess to care for with respect and dignity. What if we change our terms of “pacer” to “energetic”? Fazio, Seman and Stansell in their book Rethinking Alzheimer’s Care remind us, “as words change, so do perceptions.”
Adult Day Services, as in no other formal care setting, have the ability to thoroughly transform the “culture of care.” This setting supports more easily changing the way of writing care plans or initiating new practices such as abilities-based programming. Jentle Harts invites you to explore our formal curriculum of person centered care and discover, as we have, that there is a better way of providing care — a way that inspires caregivers to use their creativity to enhance the lives of the people they care for.
Where is the human being with whom we are care-partnering?
Alive, and capable of receiving and giving affection.