Person-centred care

Over the last decade, the practice of ‘person-centred care’ has been one of the main talking points within the domiciliary care industry. From becoming a recognised regulation of the Care Quality Commission to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) creating guidance specific to home care, the method of person-centred care is improving the provision of service to millions of people across the UK.

What is person-centred care?

According to the Social Care Institute for Excellence, person-centred care is defined as: “to move away from professionals deciding what is best for a patient or service user, and places the person at the centre, as an expert of their own experience”.

Being personcentred is about focusing care on the needs of the individual. Ensuring that people’s preferences, needs and values guide clinical decisions, and providing care that is respectful of and responsive to them.

There is no longer a ‘one-size fits all’. Instead, the focus is on the needs and requirements of the person. Through individualised plans and learning about the client as a person rather than as a statistic, person-centred care has “resulted in a significantly greater beneficial effect than standard care”.

The standardised care package no longer exists, and with technology as a catalyst for the promotion of person-centred care, the delivery of a personalised approach is now the industry standard.

The 4 principles of person-centred care

The Health Foundation sets out four principles of person-centred care.

  1. Affording people dignity, compassion and respect.
  2. Offering coordinated care, support or treatment.
  3. Offering personalised care, support or treatment.
  4. Supporting people to recognise and develop their own strengths and abilities to enable them to live an independent and fulfilling life

What are good examples of person-centred care?

There are many ways that carers and care providers can achieve better person-centred care. But it’s important to remember that places a lot of importance on using the appropriate communication methods. Not all patients will feel comfortable discussing their personal needs – so it may be appropriate to discuss requirements with family or the wider health team. Some examples of person-centred care include:

    • Being given a choice at mealtime as to what food they would like
    • Deciding together what the patient is going to wear that day, taking into account practicality and their preferences
    • Altering the patient’s bedtime and wake up time depending on when they feel most productive
    • Finding a way to give the patient treatment in their own home if this is where they feel most comfortable
    • Providing tools and devices so that the patient can perform everyday tasks on their own, such as a seat in the shower or an extending device that aids in putting shoes on
    • Ensuring the client can enjoy activities they enjoy
    • Providing access to community activities, special interest groups or religious services
    • Catering to specific personal needs relating to gender identity, sexuality, religion, ethnicity or culture

Care Quality Commission’s regulation 9

Below, we offer a breakdown of the Care Quality Commission’s regulation 9, with a demonstration of how technology can support some of its key elements.

(3a) Carrying out, collaboratively with the relevant person, an assessment of the needs and preferences for care and treatment of the service user & (3i) where meeting a service user’s nutritional and hydration needs, having regard to the service user’s well being

Utilising the internet and digitising paper documents and processes can help home care agencies meet this aspect of the regulation in an efficient way.

Software, such as Unique IQ’s care management system, uses cloud technology to share information in real-time from office staff to carers, and back again. Sharing important details in real-time can help prevent major issues arising, such as a missed or incorrect dosage of medication that could lead to hospitalisation of a client. 

The portability and efficiency of using mobile apps within a care setting mean that assessment of needs and preferences is no longer an endless task of filling in paper documents. Instead, care providers can quickly complete a digital form on a mobile device, customising the form as they progress through the needs and preferences of care. 

These forms can include a complete overview of a service user’s preferences, including their mobility, hydration and nutritional needs and any additional support they may need to ensure a good quality of life. That information is then pushed immediately into a centralised software system, which care managers can use to tailor care packages.

(3b) Designing care or treatment with a view to achieving service users’ preferences and ensuring their needs are met.

Through the data gathered via introductory and assessment forms, digital care plans can be created in a matter of clicks. Care managers staff can use software such as Unique IQ’s IQ:careplanner, to create a profile of their service user from the information they have gathered during the initial assessment. This information can be used to find the ‘best matching’ carer, based on skills and experience, or even similar interests or lifestyles – helping the service user feel more comfortable and cared for as a person, rather than as a paying statistic.

Within many care management systems, including Unique IQ’s, home care agencies can view dashboards that summarise the information gathered and identify risks and themes. This information can then be shared with care support workers in order to adapt the care they deliver.

(3e) Providing opportunities for relevant persons to manage the service user’s care or treatment;

To help support the family of someone receiving care at home, dedicated portals for clients and family to access can strengthen communication between the service user, their family, and their home care agency. Online portals are a way of keeping family up to date about their loved ones, a tool especially useful when families do not live close together or the client is unable to communicate their care treatment. 

By using a portal, both client and permitted users can view and manage different aspects of their care, such as times of the next appointment, a list of tasks and actions completed during a visit, or checking emergency contact details are correct.

(3f) Providing relevant persons with the information they would reasonably need & (3h) making reasonable adjustments to enable the service user to receive their care or treatment

For care support workers, the use of a mobile app such as IQ:timecard during a care visit, can bring a multitude of resources to their fingertips.

Information about clients can be accessed immediately, with readily-available instructions for medications or other aspects of care. Concerns can be noted within visits, automatically adding to a care history that stays up-to-date and accurate. For example, in the event of a service user declining a meal or medication, carers can take notes in a quick and discreet manner to provide care managers with an overview of the visit and history of the client’s health.

Sharing information about a client in real-time is not only safe but also provides an opportunity for a care support worker to proactively respond to a change of mood or sudden change of behaviour.

Want to know more about technology and the CQC? Read our guide here.

Technology has an important role to play in helping home care providers meet the Care Quality Commission’s regulation 9 for person-centred care. For more information, why not download your copy of ‘Outstanding home care’ – Unique IQ’s guide to using technology to improve CQC ratings.

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