As the Baby Boomer generation continues its steady march towards retirement, ideas surrounding senior care will continue to come to the forefront. One concept that continues to gain traction is client-centered care (sometimes called patient-centered care). Let’s discuss what this philosophy means, why it can be a beneficial approach to senior care, and how to distinguish which agencies employ this concept.
What is client-centered care?
This is an approach to care that places the patient / client squarely in the center of the decision-making process. It may sound self-evident, but in reality, not all personal care operates along this principle. While medical necessity or regulations may dictate which decisions are made at particular times, client-centered care aims to place the patient in a position where they maintain control of their care as much as possible (or to the extent that they are capable). It is a respectful, professional approach that honors a person’s autonomy and inherent dignity. Some examples of client-centered care are letting a loved one set their own sleep schedule, have a say in what they are served for meals, and empowering them to be an advocate for their own desires, wishes, and preferences. This is especially important when it comes to larger decisions, like whether to undergo a surgery that may prolong life, but perhaps decrease quality of life in the remaining years.
Why is a client-centered approach beneficial for seniors in home care?
Getting older can be a difficult process for many people, with its decreased physical abilities and sometimes a decrease in mental faculties as well. Sadly, diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s rob people of the ability to care for themselves in important ways. It can also be difficult from the family’s perspective: to realize that the parent who raised you and took care of you is now needing help with daily tasks.
A client-centered approach can really help ease the transition from “independent adult” to “senior requiring in home care.” Because this philosophy upholds a person’s dignity and respect for their preferences, a healthier, more welcoming environment is created. No matter a person’s age or ability, everyone appreciates being treated as though they matter - because they do. There are few things more demeaning than being treated as a cog in a wheel or a piece on an assembly line.
What characteristics should you look for in a senior care agency?
When researching in home care agencies for a loved one, it’s imperative to speak with someone from the agency - preferably in person. This will help you get a feel for what sort of approach the agency takes towards its clients. Here are some questions to help you along the way:
- Is your organization an agency or a registry? (read here to learn why this is an important distinction)
- How does your home care organization match clients with caretakers? (Pennsylvania Agency of Nurses take a unique, thorough approach - learn about it here)
- Do you have referrals from previous clients or their families? (See PAN’s Customer Testimonials here)
- Does your staff work with clients and their families to arrive at the best solution for the person being cared for? (learn about Geriatric Care Management)
At Pennsylvania Agency of Nurses, we pride ourselves on providing compassionate, competent care to clients. Learning about and focusing on a person’s specific needs is a key component of our process, and no other agency will provide the same level of care and thoroughness when matching a caregiver to a particular person. To see whether we are a good fit for your loved ones, please contact us today for a free assessment. If you’re interested in learning more about the in home care search, click the button below to download a free ebook!