At the heart of Providence Life Services is our mission to enhance the lives of those we serve in the name of Jesus Christ. But what exactly is an enhanced life? If you and I made a list of things to be included in our enhanced lives, do you think they would be the same? What if we asked five residents to make lists. Would they match? It is highly unlikely. Recognizing these differences, efforts are made to ensure that care and leisure activities at PLS revolve around the preferences of each individual person. We call this our “person-directed” philosophy of care.
Actualizing person-directed care requires both knowledge of the most relevant issues for older adults, and application of this knowledge to the unique circumstances of each resident. The person-directed philosophy provides the foundation for all PLS education toward the goal of effective, individualized responses.
Learning materials are selected to educate staff on important topics for older adults such as preserving functional independence, maintaining autonomy and choice, and mitigating risks to avoid injury. Additional content is assigned to help staff understand the importance of learning each residents’ baseline, noticing subtle changes, and reporting these changes to a clinical leader. Changes that could easily be dismissed as insignificant may be a sign of a serious underlying problem. When the staff work together to keep watch over chronic health issues, unnecessary hospitalizations and the stress of an acute illness can be avoided.
Implementation of the Relias Learning Management System provided an opportunity for the Education department to tailor clinical training plans to better equip staff to meet the needs of residents living in each care setting. For example, Providence at Home and Hospice caregivers will complete a module titled “Providing Care at End of Life,” while nurses working in the Assisted Living setting will complete “Service Plans for Assisted Living Facilities.”
The number of people whose life story is impacted by dementia requires that those who work with older adults understand the disease. All staff receive at least one hour of education to learn how to communicate with a person with dementia, and how to adjust the environment for the person’s comfort. Those who work in communities with a memory care component receive a higher level of training.
When the essential themes of older adult care are understood and well attended, daily life can be successfully individualized. This leads to residents functioning at their highest level of ability, experiencing fewer acute illnesses or injuries, and enjoying the freedom to participate in their preferred activities. Indeed, applied education enhances lives.