Ashley King is the co-founder of Person Centred Universe, and Certified Dementia Care Mapper from Bradford University in the UK and having worked her entire adult life in care settings, she understands that it isn’t easy to move a whole organization toward person centred care - it takes years! What she does believe though, is that each and every person who works, visits, and even those who live, in a nursing facility, have little windows of opportunity to contribute person centred Dementia care into their day to day. Here are a few tips she uses:
The practice of implementing more person centred approaches to your care environment can seem daunting - that it needs to be large scale culture change or that it's bigger than one person.
Here are 5 ways you can be more Person Centred in your daily work or care:
1. Tell me about YOU!
How often do you ask the people you're caring for to tell you about themselves? What did you do for work? What is your favorite meal? Do you have any children?
These are all easy ways to build a relationship with someone and help them to trust you more - and even if you've asked the person you're caring for before, because...
2. Don't be afraid to ask the same question twice.
Although you may have asked whether someone has baked apple pies for their family, or what they used to do for work - you can assume that every day is a new day that you're meeting someone - especially if you've been gone away for a while.
Building a relationship through learning more about someone, even if you already know the answer, is an important way to connect and build trust between two people. Considering the person you're caring for may not remember specifically who you are or how they know you, building that trust and relationship with them each time you see them is key.
3. Use familiar people to connect.
We connect with others based on mutual connections. How many times have you played the 'name game'? "do you know so-and-so?" or "oh yes, you're friends with my great aunt Patsy!"
We connect with others often based on common connections and people we know. Building trust by sharing that you 'know' their sister Peggy or their son Bob, builds trust with the person you're caring for and encourages you to feel more familiar to them - just make sure it's someone they have respect for!
4. Invite your clients to make choices.
Providing the opportunity for your clients to understand what's happening to them, and participate in their care, helps them to feel more at ease when receiving it. By explaining to them what you're going to do with them before doing it, you can help them to feel more prepared and provide you help.
Guiding a client using hand over hand, asking them to roll over prior to helping them, these are easy ways that we can include someone in their care and give them the opportunity to participate.
5. Simplify your message
When speaking with your clients, particularly those who are living in later stages of dementia, it's important to slow down and simplify what you're trying to convey. Using direct, simple sentences are easier to understand and follow through.
Using the phrase 'please stand up' are much easier to follow, then 'we're going to go for dinner now so I need you to get out of the chair and come with me'.
It seems simple, but sometimes, we convey so many words when a simple, direct sentence can do. Slowing down, and conveying those messages in a longer period of time, can help your client or resident feel more at ease and as though they can comprehend and follow through with what you're asking.