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NZACA - Facing Tomorrow's Challenges Today – Person Centred Care

One of the themes at this year’s NZACA was person centred care. Three facilities shared their experiences. The facilities that presented practiced the Eden model of care as well as the Spark of Life, both philosophies that focus on enabling the residents to choose their lifestyle in the later stages of life. Eden and Spark of Life both focus on how to support your staff with the education of simple practical strategies that you can implement immediately, much like how we operate with Singing for Seniors.

Eden started in 2009 at Elizabeth Knox. The key benefits have been – reduction in falls, improvement in pressure wounds, residents satisfaction and staff satisfaction.

At Elizabeth Knox they are continually questioning “do we really facilitate residents growth?” Eden is about culture change. It's a philosophy around residents owning their place they live in. Jill Woodward, the CEO at Elizabeth Knox demonstrated a new organisational chart with the resident at the centre. The next most important person is their carer.


They have resident committees to decide on who is employed. “We have a volunteer programme that is focused on companionship. We don't use volunteers for tasks that should be carried out by an employed staff member. It's just really good fun. Teamwork & curiosity is everywhere. We are privileged to live in a place people call their home. The families understand that what we're doing is how we all want to be treated”.

Resident centred care is straightforward. Essentially we are being let into someone’s home and life, and we just happen to care for them in a facility we run. If they want to dust, clean, cook, have pets or take a leadership role in activities, it’s not a matter of letting our residents do this, it’s our role to support them.

More so, we also need to reiterate this idea to families so they understand it. Imagine if they walk into the facility and see a resident dusting. Immediately they’ll be thinking “this is just savings costs”, when in reality, the choice to clean their own home is a normal thing.

What was clear is that with Spark of Life and Eden, the focus was on the Activities Staff facilitating activities, not needing to be there, not leading them, and even the resident’s with a plan for when staff aren’t involved. What was important to note, was that all facilities saw the mentoring and support role from the partner’s as critical to stay up-to-date on simple practical strategies that you can implement immediately.

Person centred care is really evolving in New Zealand. The theme of upskilling staff, staff confidence and an ongoing education is critical to continued success.

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