Nurses Can Be Champions for Person-Centered Care

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People go into nursing because they want to help people and make a difference. Nurses are taught to observe their patients’ verbal and non-verbal cues. Nurses learn to collaborate with doctors and others to develop and monitor a plan of care that meet the needs and goals of each patient.

Patient-centered care is “natural” for nurses because it focuses on the needs and wants of each patient. From a medical perspective, we do a good job taking care of “patients,” but how can we move beyond this? Long-term care is founded on a medical model, which is based on the premise that, “We know what is best for you.” Because of the health needs of the people we serve, we tend to focus only on what is “wrong” with a person and the need to treat and/or cure illness. We want to “fix” the medical condition of the “patient.” The real challenge is to transition from “patient-centered” care to PERSON-CENTERED CARE.

Person-Centered Care transforms a “patient” into a PERSON and an “institutional environment” into a HOME. Person-Centered Care means to focus on the resident as the locus of control and support the resident in making their own choices and having control over their daily lives (CMS 493.5). It’s time to focus on Quality of Life, not just Quality of Care. Implementing Person-Centered Care is how we move away from a traditional medical model.

Nurses have to transform their focus. Nurses must transform from doing for to DOING WITH. Nurses must change from determining the plan of care” to PARTNERING WITH THE PERSON to create their own plan of care. Nurses must EMPOWER ELDERS to take the lead and DIRECT their daily lives. Nurses will forever be Champions of Person-Centered Care once they experience the genuine relationships, quality of life, and well-being they bring to the lives of Elders.

If you are a nurse, are YOU a Champion of Person-Centered Care?

How can we help nurses make this transformation in their thinking and practice?

How can you share this information with the nurses you know?

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