Dementia care assessment – From compliance to customer service

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Dementia care assessment – From compliance to customer service

Posted on March 25, 2014

The basis of good dementia care lies in supporting people at their highest functioning level and answering their personal needs in the most compassionate and respectful way. To support quality care with stronger care planning and anti-psychotic drug reduction initiatives, knowledge about each resident is paramount to drive person centered experience. At the fore front of that knowledge gathering lies the assessment process: collecting relevant data for each individual. What are the key ideas needed to transform a compliance driven, low level experience to a customer service and person centered focus?

Here are three key components to successful assessment tools and processes:

1. Draw data points that paint a holistic and wellness based picture of the person

Compliance and traditional dementia care models only require the gathering of basic information of residents: names, date of birth, sex, religion, race, education and a few activity preferences. These are never sufficient when it comes to understanding behavior and providing effective engagement. To achieve person centered care, a holistic portrait needs to be painted to understand the person fully. The goal is to capture the whole person and support the staff by showing what are the preferences and abilities of each individual. The best framework to use is the holistic wellness one that includes seven dimensions: Social, Emotional, Spiritual, Environmental, Occupational, Intellectual, Physical.

2. Include different stakeholders in the life story

When residents move in, the staff is often under pressure to perform assessments within a short amount of time. This results in lower quality data and also potentially leaves useful stakeholders aside.  The best way to draw a resident’s profile is to include family members and other caregivers. Having a group of family members collaborate on telling the life story of the resident not only reduces the guilt associated with placing a loved one in a home but also increase the quality of the information provided to the staff when the resident needs attention. It is also likely to capture important life experiences that are likely to trigger different events for the residents.

3. Make the assessment a constant process for person centered care

Each person with dementia is unique, having a different variety of abilities and needs for support, which change over time as the disease progresses or their preferences evolve. What would work one day could totally trigger an opposite response within days. This is why it is important to reassess residents regularly. This should be done each time a change is noticed and also be part of a systematic process. It is an excellent way to update the family members of the progress of a resident and promotes better person centered care.