What is Person-Centred Care & Why It Matters

Aged Care, Health & Wellness, Home Care |

What is person-centred care and why does it matter 

Person-centred care is more than just a buzzword in the healthcare industry – it’s a philosophy that places the individual at the heart of their own care journey. It’s about tailoring support and services to meet the unique needs, preferences, and aspirations of each person, empowering them to live life on their terms. 

So, why is person-centred care so crucial, especially in aged care? This blog delves deeper into the subject to understand its significance and impact on both care receivers as well as their loved ones.

Understanding person-centred care

At its core, person-centred care acknowledges that every individual is different, with their own set of values, beliefs, and experiences that shape who they are and how they want to live. It shifts the focus from merely treating medical conditions to encompassing the whole person – their physical, emotional, and social wellbeing. 

In a person-centred care approach, the older adult becomes an active participant in decisions about their care, working collaboratively with healthcare professionals to determine goals and preferences. This fosters a sense of control, dignity, and respect, enhancing the overall care experience. 

Why it matters

Person-centred care isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a fundamental aspect of quality care delivery, with far-reaching benefits for both individuals and the broader healthcare system. 

First and foremost, it promotes individual autonomy and independence, allowing older adults to maintain a sense of identity and agency as they age. By honouring their preferences and choices, it helps preserve their dignity and self-worth, fostering a positive outlook on life. 

Moreover, person-centred care has been linked to improved health outcomes and overall wellbeing. For example, if you feel heard, valued, and supported in your own care journey, you are more likely to adhere to treatment plans, leading to better results (eg, management of chronic conditions) and even reduced hospitalisations. 

The science behind person-centred care

Numerous studies have highlighted the positive impact of person-centred care on various health outcomes. For instance, research has shown that older adults receiving person-centred care experience higher levels of satisfaction, lower rates of depression and anxiety, and better quality of life compared to those in traditional care settings. 

Furthermore, a systematic review published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies found that person-centred care interventions led to improvements in functional status, social engagement, and overall health-related quality of life among older adults.

Prioritising person-centred care in aged care settings

In aged care facilities, such as residential aged care homes, implementing person-centred care involves creating an environment that prioritises the individual needs and preferences of residents. This could mean allowing residents to choose their daily activities, meals, and social interactions, and providing opportunities for meaningful engagement and connection. 

Person-centred care in aged care settings also entails fostering a culture of respect, dignity, and compassion among staff members. This includes training staff to communicate effectively, listen actively, and respond empathetically to the needs of residents, ensuring that they feel valued and supported. 

Moreover, incorporating elements of person-centred care in aged care settings can lead to improved resident outcomes, including enhanced quality of life, satisfaction, and wellbeing. By focusing on the individuality and humanity of each resident, aged care facilities can create environments that feel like home, promoting a sense of belonging and purpose among residents. 

Promoting person-centred care in home care

For older Australians receiving home care services, person-centred care takes on a different yet equally important dimension. It’s about enabling individuals to age in place comfortably and safely, surrounded by the familiarity and comfort of their own home. 

In a home care setting, person-centred care may involve collaborating with clients to develop flexible care plans that accommodate their preferences and lifestyle. This could range from assistance with daily tasks such as grooming and meal preparation to companionship and support with recreational activities. 

For more on home care, including services available and how they align with person-centred care, read our comprehensive guide.

Choosing the right care provider for you 

If you or a loved one is currently considering home care options, it’s essential you prioritise providers who embrace a person-centred approach to care delivery. Here are some questions you can ask potential providers to ensure they will provide person-centred care: 

  • How do you involve clients in the care planning process?  

Look for providers who actively engage clients in decisions about their care, including developing care plans, setting goals, and making adjustments based on feedback. 

  • Can you provide examples of how you tailor your services to meet individual needs and preferences?  

A person-centred care provider should be able to demonstrate how they customise care to accommodate each client’s unique preferences, routines, and cultural background.

  • What training do your staff members receive in person-centred care?  

Inquire about the training and qualifications of staff members, including their ability to communicate effectively, listen empathetically, and respond sensitively to the needs of clients.

  • How do you promote continuity of care and build trusting relationships with clients?  

Look for providers who prioritise consistency in caregiver assignments, allowing clients to develop meaningful relationships with their caregivers over time.

  • What measures do you have in place to solicit feedback from clients and address any concerns or preferences?  

A person-centred care provider should have processes in place for regularly soliciting feedback from clients and their families, as well as mechanisms for addressing any issues or requests that arise.

  • Can you provide testimonials or references from current or past clients who have experienced person-centred care?  

Hearing directly from other clients about their experiences with the provider can give you valuable insights into the quality of care and level of client-centeredness. 

By asking these questions and carefully considering the responses, you can ensure that you or your loved one will receive the personalised support and attention necessary to live life to the fullest while aging in place. 

The flow-on impacts for carers

Person-centred care doesn’t just benefit the older adults receiving care services, it also has a positive impact on carers – the unsung heroes who provide essential support and assistance. By involving carers in the care planning process and recognising their needs and wellbeing, person-centred care helps prevent burnout and enhance job satisfaction, ultimately leading to better outcomes for both carers and care recipients. 

In conclusion, person-centred care is not just a philosophy, it’s a guiding principle that more and more care providers are prioritising to help transform residents and client outcomes. Because, by concentrating on an individual’s needs, preferences, and aspirations, they can create a more compassionate, dignified, and empowering care experience for older Australians.  

So, as you consider your options for home care services, remember the importance of choosing a provider who puts the person at the centre of care – because everyone deserves to age with dignity and respect in the comfort of their own home. 

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