For many years, the concept of person-centered care has been generally accepted in the long term care community. This is a huge improvement over body-centered care which focused only on the physical needs of a person - their need to be bathed, fed and medically treated. It represented an important evolution from the earlier approach of facility-centered care which considered only the benefits to the organization and the staff schedules for caring for these bodily needs. Person-centered care considers the individual and his or her preferences. It considers when someone might want to get up, what they might like for breakfast and even when or if they want to eat breakfast. In addition, persons are given choices regarding their life style, activities and social opportunities. It represents important progress in allowing for and acknowledging who a person is and permitting the continuity of their life. Person-centered care goes deeper towards the essence of who a person really is.
The next step in the evolution of how the long term care community treats and interacts with people is Spirit-centered Care. It is at the core of our Elderwise programs. At Elderwise, we act on the belief that as we consider an individual’s needs in terms of preferences, we can go even deeper. We can go all the way to a person’s essence or central truth, and address them and work with them in this way. It is not about a particular religious belief or tradition. In spirit-centered care, we acknowledge and address the wholeness of all individuals. Whether you have a physical or cognitive change, the essence of who we are is the same. This is the foundation of the Elderwise philosophy and affects and informs our moment to moment interactions with people.