What Is Culture Change?
“Culture change” is the common name given to the national movement for the transformation of older adult services, based on person-directed values and practices where the voices of elders and those working with them are considered and respected. Core person-directed values are choice, dignity, respect, self-determination and purposeful living.
Culture change transformation supports the creation of both long and short-term living environments as well as community-based settings where both older adults and their caregivers are able to express choice and practice self-determination in meaningful ways at every level of daily life. Culture change works to create home wherever elders live. Care is directed by and centered on the person receiving care.
Culture change in long-term care is about meaningful relationships and service, where caregivers and staff really know the people they care for, so that individuals can continue to live a meaningful life and feel “at home” wherever they are. Part of feeling at home is creating living spaces that are more private, comfortable, and personalized.
Another part of culture change is to support and nurture the staff who help elders and others in care settings or in their own homes. Those who provide the hands-on care in nursing homes are called “certified nursing assistants” or CNAs. Some culture change nursing homes have renamed them “resident assistants.” Caregivers who work in people’s homes are called “home health aides” or “homemaker assistants,” depending on the tasks they perform and the work they do. “Direct care worker” is a term that applies to those who provide direct, hands-on care in any setting. It is important that these workers, whatever title they have, feel respected, like their work, and want to continue doing it. The need for these workers is growing as members of the baby boom generation are growing older.
With culture change, true relationships between residents and staff from all job descriptions flourish and a true sense of belonging and community flourish. This includes the meaningful involvement of the residents’ families, friends, and the greater community outside the walls of the building itself.
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