I get close to the “Movement”, get frustrated, then find myself again drifting back toward the “Movement”.

I fully embrace the concepts that drive the Culture Change/Person-Centered Care “Movement”.  I have a very hard time with how it is being promoted to the senior living sector. I get close to the “Movement,” get frustrated, then find myself again drifting back toward the “Movement”. 

A Session of Frustration

I am at the Community Care Options conference in Reno, Nevada listening to a presentation on Culture Change and, in talking about what the “Movement” is, the presenter provided this description:

What is culture change?

Culture change in long-term care is a longitudinal, systemic, holistic process of transforming a long-term care organization (people, culture, beliefs and actions) and its physical surroundings, from being embedded in a traditional institutional medical model or philosophy to operating as a holistic therapeutic community, based upon resident-centered care and dignified workplace practices. Culture change is a multitude of efforts aimed at transforming the psycho-social, organizational, operational and physical environment in order to enhance quality of care, quality of experience, quality of life and create a positive, enjoyable workplace, a loving supportive home and a thriving community that meets resident-identified physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs as well as facilitating a high quality of life for all individuals involved. (Chapin, 2010, p 192)

I bet not a single one of you read through the whole thing.

The presenters read the whole thing, word for word, while it was on the screen and I and those sitting around me zoned out after the first sentence.

Figuring Out What You Want to Accomplish

I would bet that description was created by a committee where each person had some pet idea or language they wanted to have included in the description. I actually don’t doubt that this definition is correct. The problem is that it is completely unhelpful, even worse . . . it is so hard to unpack it ends up making people feel inept for not being able to understand what it means.

The culture change movement is so focused on dignified language that they lose the ability to communicate what they are about with the broader world of senior living. The presenters I am listening to are using terms that don’t have context and don’t make sense.

It Could and Should Work

The “movement” needs to communicate what they are all about in simple language. How about this:

“Person-centered care is a philosophy of serving elders that provides both caregivers

and elders the ability to have a great day each day. “

Sure it is not a full description but rather than making people roll their eyes, they respond saying, “that makes sense, tell me more.”

If the “Movement” really wants to change the world for elders they need to inspire the senior living community to embrace their philosophy. They need to tell stories about how elders are living better lives, how team members are happier, how staff retention is better and how it is at least cost neutral . . . though I believe it can provide a higher ROI.

Yes  Pioneer Network, you can use my definition.

Steve Moran