Two of the most consistently identified areas of noncompliance in aged care today are Standard 2 – Ongoing Assessment and planning with Consumers and Standard 3- Personal Care and Clinical Care. Person ‐centred care is understood to be regarding the consumer as a unique human being and having regard for their dignity and choice.
This concept of person-centred care is well described in the following consumer statements in the ACQS Standards:
- Standard 2 – I am a partner in ongoing assessment and planning that helps me get the care and services I need for my health and wellbeing,
- Standard 3 – I get personal care, clinical care or both that is safe and right for me. Standard 4- I get the services and supports for daily living that are important for health and wellbeing and that enable me to do the things I want to do.
The core business of residential aged care is people looking after people in their own home. Person centered care cannot be achieved without ongoing communication. Developing relationships built on trust and respect with residents, families and friends enables a deep understanding of who the people are and for the resident “What matters to me”.
The people living in the home should not and must not be defined by their diagnoses. People living in the home have a significant individual back story to tell us about their social background, work history, family, friends, and their community connections. These all define how they would like to live their life as residents at the home.
People working in aged care must be able to recognise, understand and act appropriately in partnership with the person or their Substitute Decision Maker to enable them to spend their day to day lives in active pursuit on what that means to them through purposeful activity such as providing assistance to maintain their previous work skills or retraining, or is it sitting in the sun watching the world go by listening their favourite music. The assessment and planning of each person is as individual as they are and is what matters to each of them. The people working in the home must be able to recognise, act and plan in partnership with the person in their everyday choices, future plans and activities that we all do on a daily basis in our own lives.
To be able to demonstrate and evidence that homes are upholding and maintaining the ACQS, there must be a clear formalised strategic plan that is embedded into the culture of the home. This will build capacity in the workforce that will support a clear and robust Clinical Governance framework , education program and employee self-development programs. Quality Systems that measure not only clinical and operational outcomes but “What matters to me “ are critical to person-centered care.
The following excerpt from the song “What about me” written by Gary Frost resonates as an Anthem for aged care in Australia.
Take a step back and see the older people
They might be old
But they’re the ones that make the big people big
So listen as they whisper:
“What about me?”
And now I’m standing in my room
All the world’s gone home
Nobody’s changed, nobody’s been saved
And I’m feeling cold and alone
I guess I’m lucky, I smile a lot
But sometimes I wish for more than I’ve got.
“What about me?”