Over the past several years, the culture change model has emerged as a method of resident care throughout senior living and memory care communities across the nation. This concept, also referred to as “person-centered care” or “resident-centered care,” is focused on providing residents with not only a home-like, comfortable environment, but also allowing them autonomy in personal and life choices.
The culture change model removes institutionalization from the concept of senior care. Instead, residents are allowed to set their own routines, their preferences are considered and they continue to make decisions for as long as they are able. All levels of staff are involved in the care process along with the residents’ loved ones. Rather than focusing on the things residents can no longer accomplish on their own and providing the necessary assistance, the culture change model emphasizes what they still can do, allowing for a holistic approach to caregiving.
For example, a person-centered care model differs from an institutionalized model in that instead of providing the same standard medical treatment based on a diagnosis, the staff considers the individualized needs and personal desires of each resident independently. Rather than simply executing a set of tasks on a given patient, the team brings personal knowledge of each individual resident into the caregiving process.
The Benefits of a Person-Centered Approach to Dementia Care
Staff members of a memory care community will work together with each other and the residents, as the culture change model recognizes the importance of strong relationships in providing the highest level of care. Consistent team assignments, a collaborative leadership style, and personalized care plans that actively involve family members are all examples of core elements of the person-centered approach.
Below are just some of the benefits of the culture change model:
- Increases resident satisfaction and life expectancy. Residents report feeling happier as they receive a high level of individualized care and get to maintain as much independence as possible. This helps increase longevity, as residents continue to feel like they still have a purpose in life.
- Reduces boredom and feelings of helplessness among residents. The person-centered approach focuses on providing daily tasks and activities that can help reduce some of the boredom and helplessness some residents may experience. The staff learns what activities are enjoyed most – whether it’s listening to music, painting, or playing games with others – and then incorporates those activities into daily routines.
- Improves mental health. Providing stimulating activities and events helps decrease feelings of loneliness and depression, and can also improve overall cognition and mental health.
- Respects the residents’ needs and abilities. Residents feel a higher level of respect when they are allowed to make their own decisions. Focusing on their individual needs and abilities provides them with a better sense of control over their lives.
- Promotes a supportive environment. People come first in the culture change model. This means not only will residents feel supported and better cared for, but the staff will, too.
- Builds relationships between staff members. Team members of all levels work together with specific groups of residents, building relationships with all those involved. They also report a higher level of satisfaction in their work, which leads to less employee turnover.
How to Implement the Culture Change Model in Your Community
Implementing the culture change model in your memory care community will become increasingly important for maintaining maximum census in the coming years. A study by the Pioneer Network revealed that communities who implemented a person-centered approach early on maintained occupancy well above the national mean.
Making extensive renovations to your current community is not necessarily required to implement the culture change model. It’s more about changing the mindset, services and the way care is provided for residents across all levels of your organization. However, the costs for making these changes are usually offset quite quickly, as the staff turnover rate decreases and resident satisfaction increases. This helps to keep residents living longer, higher-quality lifestyles within your community.
MatrixCare for Senior Living: A Comprehensive Software Solution
MatrixCare offers long-term care providers in the senior living industry the tools and support they need to effectively deliver true person-centered care within their memory support programming. Contact us today to learn more.
Also, don’t miss our upcoming webinar, Balancing Risk in Senior Living: Improving Your Assisted Living and Memory Care Community’s Risk Management. This informative webinar, scheduled for October 26 from 1-2 PM central time, is approved for 1 CEU – NAB and Nursing. We’ll identify the highest areas of risk for resident claims against senior living communities, strategies for mitigating those high-risk areas, and more! Click here to register for this FREE educational event!