How can we make our care home more person-centred?

To offer a really person-centred service, you need to know what matters to each person and how they want to be supported.

Bruce Lodge

Many dementia services focus on learning about each individual’s personal history or life story, and this can also inform what matters to the person now. In a truly person-centred care home, we need to understand past, present and future – a person’s history, what matters to them now and what they would like to do in the future (whether this is in the next few months or year).

One way to capture what is important to someone is through a one-page profile. This is a single sheet of paper with three headings – what people appreciate about the person, what matters to them, and how they want to be supported. This short film explains how to capture the information.

We have found that the easiest and most efficient way to develop a one-page profile is through an informal meeting that brings together the person, their family and any other important people in their life. This meeting takes about an hour and a half. If the person does not have any family, the meeting would involve staff who know the person best to develop the one-page profile. The process can work whatever stage of dementia the person is experiencing. This minibook explains more.

As well as knowing what matters to the person, everyone involved in their life needs a clear understanding of how they communicate – with their behaviour as well as words. A communication chart is a way to record and share the best ways that staff can respond to a person’s communication.

Great person-centred services keep checking in with the person and learning how their service is working for them, and what we can do to keep improving. Services are expected to have regular service reviews, and a person-centred review builds on the one-page profile meeting to find out what is working and not working for the person and what we can do to build on what is working and change what is not working. This Reviewing Progress book can help.

The quality of relationships is absolutely key to the quality of life of someone with dementia, and how you match staff to individuals could be one of the most important decisions that managers make. Staff having their own one-page profiles is one way to make sure managers have the information they need to find out who has interests and hobbies in common, and to get the best match with staff based on shared interests, personality and characteristics. In this short film you can see how Lisa, the manager of a care home, made the decision about who was the best person to support Winifred with her ‘individual time’.

Individual time is based on the principles of Individual Service Funds (ISF), which are a way to make sure that people choose what they do, when they do it and who supports them for a certain amount of time each month. To read more about what this is and how it worked at Bruce Lodge, you may find this book useful.

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Reading room

Our learning about creating person-centred change.