Appreciating the 'person' in long-term care

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Journal Article
International Journal of Older People Nursing, 2012, 7 (4), pp. 284 - 294
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Background. Internationally, approaches to the long-term care of older people are changing. New models are being developed that aim to de-institutionalise care settings, maximise opportunities for older people to participate in decision-making and move from a predominant medical model of care to one that is community orientated. Aims. The aim of this study is to highlight similarities and differences between the different models that exist and explore the implications of these for the role of the registered nurse in long-term care. Methods. We chose three models for review as these represent a range of views of person centredness, each having distinct roots and focus. The models chosen were as follows: (i) culture change, (ii) person-centred practice and (iii) relationship-centred care. Results. The review highlights two key issues (i) the distinctiveness of different models and frameworks and (ii) different interpretations of `person. Firstly, we identify a disconnection between espoused differences between models and frameworks and the reality of these differences. The evidence also identifies how some models and frameworks adopt a more inclusive conceptualisation of person and personhood and do not define personhood in relation to role (resident, nurse and family member). Conclusions. There is merit in the development of models and frameworks that try to make explicit the different dimensions of person centredness in long-term care. However, the focus on the development of these, without sufficient attention being paid to evidence of best practices grounded in the concept of personhood, person-centred care is in danger of losing its original humanistic emphasis. Further, models and frameworks need to take account of the personhood of all persons.
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