Have you ever been at one of those institutions where the number one priority is following the schedule that has been appointed for the staff? Typically an organization feels forced to maximize employee efficiency because of financial constraints. For example, Nursing Homes often receive Medicaid funding. Medicaid pays such a low daily rate that the administration is pressed to minimize staffing in comparison to the number of residents served. While trying to make a profit is completely understandable, the end result is one lonely CNA being responsible for all of the care needs of 9-12 people. When you have been told that you must have 10 people up, showered, dressed and ready for breakfast by 8:00 a.m. you can bet that grandma’s needs as a person aren’t really being considered. How could they be? However, it’s not the CNA’s fault, it’s the organization’s fault. Administrator’s must make tough financial decisions to ensure that every resident receives “person-centered” care.
In addition to working within financial constraints, there are is another hindrance to person centered care. That hindrance can be referred to as, “the medical model.” The medical model assumes that the medical professional knows what is best for the patient and therefore needs little to no input from that person about the type of care they will receive. Doctor knows best, you know! While no one doubts the superior medical knowledge of the medical provider, we still have to make distinctions for the differences in people. Person centered care therefore focuses on the individual.
In order for caregivers to be successful with the residents they serve, they must become expert at person centered care. In person centered care, the individual and their unique needs come first. Human interaction is the key. Interacting on a personal level allows caregivers to discover what their residents really need and become empowered to help the person get those needs met. In order to make this a reality, administrators must figure out a way to provide staffing ratios that facilitate having the necessary time for human interaction. A good guideline might be staff members having time to not only provide for direct care needs, but also time to interact with the resident on a personal level. Interaction not only makes the resident feel better but also allows for questioning and probing to determine other previously undisclosed needs. How many residents are receiving care day by day based upon medical documentation and clinical plans which are wholly unknown by the resident, yet continue on day after day?
At Intellegis we provide a 3:1 staffing ratio. Although this ratio is less profitable, it allows our staff the much needed time to care for the person, as a person. Important conversations can occur which serve as a guide to providing future care. We feel like we owe that to the person. I’m sure you would expect the same for your loved ones in whatever setting they may find themselves. A good question to ask providers before agreeing to residential support is, “what is your staffing ratio?” The answer to that question will give you an indicator as to whether your family member will have an opportunity to receive person centered care or will simply receive care dictated by staffing ratio constraints and busy clinician input. Who cares about person centered care? We do, that’s who!
We at Intellegis hope you choose wisely…