The necessity of person-centered care in Alzheimer’s dementia care facilities
As a developer specializing in the creation of Alzheimer's residences, I believe that people with dementia and memory illness have the right to enjoy the highest quality of life and care. Moreover, every person with Alzheimer's or dementia deserves to have care that is tailored to their unique needs, interests, habits, and desires.
To achieve this goal, my team and I at Adora are developing Alzheimer's residences based on evidence-based research that shows how to successfully implement person-centered programs and practices within residences.
The result of this research has led me to outline some of the guidelines for proper care with a focus on person-centered support.
First things first, what does person-centered care mean?
The primary objective is to ensure that person-centered care is well understood and put into practice in all care facilities with the objective of providing quality care. Dignified care has to be an essential part of the culture of every long-term care facility.
What is person-centered care?:
Person-centered care, in the context of people living with dementia and memory illness, refers to an approach to caregiving and support that prioritizes the individual's unique needs, preferences, abilities, and feelings. This philosophy recognizes that each person is an individual with distinct experiences, even if they live with a cognitive illness, who require personalized care.
According to Alzheimer.ca, there will be 955,900 people in Canada projected living with dementia in 2030. This means this specialized care will be in even greater demand as the population continues to age.
What does person-centered care look like in practice?
Person-centered care is a philosophy that sees individuals have unique values, personal histories, and personalities, who all deserve equal rights to dignity, respect, and the ability to participate fully in their environment. This care should be incorporated into all aspects of support, regardless of the patient's condition or stage of disease. Services and support need to be designed and delivered in a way that is fully integrated, collaborative, and mutually respectful of all people involved. This includes the person with the illness, the family, caregivers, and staff.
Family and friends are essential in helping a person with memory illness have a "good day" by familiarizing staff with the person's unique likes and dislikes. It's critical for staff to receive the proper training to work collaboratively with families and recognize what moving to a long-term care home means to a family.
Again, according to Alzheimer.ca, 87% of caregivers wish that more people understood the realities of caring for someone with dementia.
Extending this philosophy into end-of-life care
The goals of palliative and end-of-life care are to improve the quality of life for the person with memory illness and to minimize any unnecessary suffering. Staff is trained with this person-centered philosophy to provide comprehensive comfort to the person at the late stages of their illness.
It's crucial that residence staff are given the tools to work together with the individual with the illness and the family in order to provide the best medical, emotional, and spiritual support possible.