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Implementing Person -Centred Care in Community Disability and Aged Care.

Updated: May 5, 2023

The problem is not lack of knowledge in matters relating to person centred care. Rather it is implementation which needs attention and requires a strategic approach. The best approach is anchored on the following key principles and you have an opportunity to read about it in more detail in this blog.

  • Effective leadership and willingness to embrace change

  • staff education and training,

  • staff empowerment

  • effective communication and

  • collaborative care planning and review.

In addition to principles essential to implementing person centred care listed above, you will also read about what Person-centred care is as well as the benefits of its implementation. The blog is best suited for clinical practice leaders at all levels and anyone interested in person centred care.


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What is person centred care and what is its significance?

Person-cantered care is a philosophy and approach to healthcare that focuses on the individual and their unique needs, preferences, and values. This approach values the individual's input and encourages active participation in decision-making processes regarding their care. Ensuring that people are involved and central to all processes of their care and supports is crucial to the delivery of high-quality, responsive, safe, and accountable services. Organizations, are increasingly looking for ways to partner with clients and involve participants in all aspects of their care. Such organisations are influenced by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF declaration of Alma Ata, which states that, "people have the right and duty to participate individually and collectively in the planning and implementation of their health care." This declaration was made in 1978, an indication that person centred care is not a new concept. This is now the year 2023 and many organisations acknowledge that it is not enough for clients to be told that they are at the centre of care when they do not perceive it to be the case. Such organisations are highly focused on finding best ways of implementation and review person centred care as they seek to deliver high-quality care. By doing so,” light is shown” on how the client and their significant others feel about the so-called person-centred care.


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The benefits of implementing Person-Centred Care:

Effective implementation brings multiple mutual benefits to all stakeholders - staff, families, organizations, policy makers, governments, and communities at large. When clients are actively involved in decision-making about their care, they are more likely to receive services and supports that meet their needs and that is crucial. The benefits are many, as outlined below and it is the hope of achieving these that drive organisations to implement person centred care.

  • focuses on meeting the individual needs and goals of clients.

  • improved service quality and a better overall consumer experience

  • Improved client outcomes and satisfaction resulting in improved outcomes and higher satisfaction

  • Increased client engagement and responsibility

  • Person-centred care encourages clients to take more responsibility and become more accountable for their own health and well-being, promoting self-care and active engagement in their care

  • Tailored care for diverse needs: Person-centred care recognizes the unique needs and preferences of individual clients, allowing for more tailored care and supports, particularly for clients with diverse needs

  • Improved professional satisfaction and confidence: Providing care that is aligned with clients' goals and values can improve the job satisfaction and confidence of staff, leading to increased professional fulfilment

  • Reduced pressure on health and social services: By empowering clients to take an active role in their care and promoting self-care, person-centred care can reduce the pressure on health and social services by promoting independence and preventing unnecessary hospitalizations or interventions


Meeting with clients

Effective leadership and a willingness to embrace change:

Effective leadership and willingness to embrace change are critical, starting from senior management and creating a culture that supports person-centred care. Successful implementation of person-centred care requires a shift from traditional paternalistic models of care to a more collaborative and empowering approach. This includes providing leadership that reinforces the benefits of consumer-centred care, empowering staff, and promoting shared leadership. effective leadership and a culture that supports person-centred care. This is critical for the implementation of person-centred care in community aged care and disability services. Leaders need to provide clear vision, empower staff, and promote shared leadership, while creating a culture that values and prioritizes the individual needs and preferences of the person receiving care. By doing so, community aged care and disability services can deliver care that is truly person-centred, resulting in improved outcomes and satisfaction for consumers and their families. Continuous quality improvement is integral to person-centred care. Organizations should foster a culture of continuous quality improvement, regularly reviewing and evaluating their practices to ensure alignment with person-centred care principles. This includes collecting and analysing feedback from clients, families, and staff, and using this feedback to identify areas for improvement and implement changes accordingly. It is no longer adequate in this modern day for clients to be told that they are at the centre of all care without them feeling that they are.

Education and training of staff

To be able to provide better care for patients, it is important for healthcare organizations to prioritize education and training of their staff. This includes teaching them about person-cantered care and how to respect the autonomy of their clients. A skilled and knowledgeable workforce is key to implementing this approach successfully. This involves training staff in communication skills, cultural competency, and person-cantered care principles. In addition, staff should also receive ongoing support, supervision, and feedback to ensure they are providing care that aligns with this approach.


Interprofessional learning, which involves staff members from different healthcare professions learning from each other, is also beneficial for organizations. This approach helps staff members acknowledge and appreciate differences while focusing on the common goal of providing high-quality care. It is important to note that colleges and universities teach interprofessional learning to prepare students for interprofessional practice, and healthcare organizations can benefit from implementing this approach in their clinical practice.


Going for a walk. Person on wheelchair being assisted.

Empowering staff at all levels:

Empowering staff to identify issues and contribute to solutions is vital. Inclusive and empowering work processes that involve all staff yield the most benefits for clients and stakeholders alike. Primarily, empowering staff at all levels means fostering a culture of trust and collaboration. This involves creating an environment where staff feel valued, respected, and included, regardless of their position or background. It also means providing opportunities for staff to actively participate in decision-making processes and to voice their concerns and ideas without fear of retribution. Empowered staff are more likely to take ownership of their work and strive for excellence in providing care to clients. Inclusive work processes are also critical to implementing person-cantered care. This means involving all staff, including frontline caregivers, support staff, and administrative personnel, in the care planning and delivery process. These individuals often have valuable insights and firsthand knowledge of clients' needs and preferences, as they interact with them daily. Providing avenues for staff to contribute their perspectives and ideas, such as through regular team meetings, feedback mechanisms, or quality improvement initiatives, can lead to more comprehensive and effective care plans.

Effective communication:

Effective communication and information sharing among all stakeholders, including clients, their representatives, and staff, should be established and maintained. This ensures that everyone involved is informed, engaged, and aligned towards person-centred care. Supportive communication and shared decision-making are crucial elements of person-centred care. Effective communication involves active listening to the client, their family, and caregivers, and using open-ended questions to understand their needs, goals, and preferences. Shared decision-making entails actively involving the client and their family in decisions about their care, providing them with information about different options, and supporting them in making informed choices.



Care planning and review

Collaborative care planning and review should be practiced, involving the client, their family, or caregivers, in the development of a care plan that is tailored to their unique needs, goals, and preferences. This includes considering the client's cultural, social, and emotional factors, in addition to their physical health condition. Collaborative care planning requires open and honest communication, active listening, and shared decision-making between the client, their family, and the care team. In the context of implementing person-centred care in disability and aged care, it is crucial to regularly assess the needs, goals, and preferences of the client to ensure that their care plan remains meaningful and impactful. These assessments should be conducted in a holistic manner, considering the client's physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being. Collaborating with the client in the assessment process empowers them to provide input and feedback on their care plan, allowing for necessary adjustments to be made. Respecting the autonomy and preferences of the client is a fundamental aspect of person-centred care. This involves actively involving the client in decision-making about their care, respecting their choices, and providing information in a clear and understandable manner that aligns with their level of health literacy. It also requires respecting the client's cultural, religious, and personal beliefs, and tailoring care and supports accordingly.

Conclusion:

Person-centred care is a holistic and inclusive approach to care and supports that places the client at the centre of decision-making and actively involves them in all aspects of their care. Successful implementation of person-centred care requires effective leadership, education and training, empowering staff, ongoing communication, and a commitment to respecting the autonomy and preferences of clients. By embracing person-centred care, organizations can improve the quality of their services, enhance client outcomes and satisfaction, promote client engagement and responsibility, and create a more inclusive and responsive care system.

This blog is the first in a series of four blogs namely: The concepts in these four, back to basics topics form the fundamentals of care in any setting.

  1. person centred care,

  2. rights-based approach,

  3. risk-based approach,

  4. continuous improvement.

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