By John R. Ratliff, Boomerang staff writer
Which puts you in a better mood to start your day: waking according to your body's natural rhythms or being awakened from a deep slumber by a noisy alarm clock? If you're like most people, you feel more rested and are more positive when you are allowed to wake when your body wants to. Yet, every day, millions of Ohioans rise - and even go to bed - on a schedule determined by people and factors beyond their control. When your livelihood depends on you to keep your employer's schedule, this trade-off is justified, but what if you are being awakened at certain times mainly because it is more convenient for someone else?
Nursing homes, home care aides and even family caregivers tend to the daily needs of others who are older or who have disabilities and need help with typical activities of daily living. They mean well, but often they structure the care they provide around their own needs and preferences, not those of the care recipient. For example, Mom may prefer to sleep in and eat breakfast around 10 a.m. but the agency that provides the home health aide for her can only provide help between 7 and 9 a.m., due to scheduling. As a result, Mom has to rise and eat before she would prefer.
Ohio is embracing a relatively new approach to care that puts the care recipient at the center of all care decisions. Appropriately called "person-centered care," this philosophy is built around the belief that all adults have the right to make decisions and participate in creating a plan of care that respects their hopes, dreams and goals. Person-centered care makes life better for the care recipient and the care provider because it is based on mutual respect. It is being used with success in care settings from nursing homes, to assisted living facilities, to home health care and even informal, family caregiving.
According to the Ohio Person-centered Care Coalition, person-centered care is a common-sense approach to bringing care back into caregiving and enriching the lives of both those who provide and receive the care. The principles of person-centered care are:
- Every person has strengths, gifts and contributions to offer.
- Every person has hopes, dreams and desires.
- Each person is the primary authority on his or her life.
- Every person has the ability to express preferences and to make choices.
- A person's choices and preferences shall always be considered.
If you provide care or support for a loved one, ask yourself a few questions:
- Does your loved one get to eat what she likes, when she likes?
- Does she bathe or shower when and how she prefers?
- Does she go to bed and wake up when she wants?
- Does she have an active role in directing the care she receives?
Just because a person may rely on others for help doing things she used to do for herself, that doesn't mean she has to accept whatever care is available. Caregiving relationships will always require some degree of compromise, but it should be mutually agreed upon and with the recipient's and provider's shared benefit at heart.
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