Yes, It IS All About Me!

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Photo by Kimberly Logsdon, Scripps Gerontology Center, Miami University

Preference Based Living Team

National Skilled Nursing Care Week is an opportunity to recognize the important role these organizations play in providing care to the nation’s older adults and individuals living with disabilities. The theme of “Celebrating Life’s Stories,” highlights both a privilege and a challenge for organizations that provide skilled nursing care. Knowing and celebrating the lives of individuals receiving long-term care has grown in importance as nursing homes are focusing on the delivery of person-centered care. The Preferences for Everyday Living Inventory (PELI) developed by our collaborative team of researchers and practitioners, collectively known as Preference Based Living, is a tool that can be used by nursing homes and assisted living communities to facilitate the collection of these unique narratives by way of assessing the individual’s most important preferences.

Knowing and honoring each person’s everyday preferences leads to better health and wellbeing. An individual’s quality of life is enhanced by greater connection, autonomy, dignity and satisfaction when care providers know each person’s unique likes and dislikes. The PELI is an assessment instrument that elicits an individual’s important preferences with questions spanning five key domains; social contact, personal development, leisure, living environment and daily routine. The Preference Based Living team has developed two initiatives that allow providers to leverage information collected using the PELI to support relationship building among staff and residents while communicating their life stories.

The “All About Me” initiative, developed by staff at the Abramson Center for Jewish Life, sought to ensure direct care staff had access to preference information. When an individual moves in, life enrichment staff assess an her or his leisure preferences using the PELI. There is a wealth of preference data gathered from this interview that is then documented in the person’s medical record. However, having efficient access to this information was a challenge for direct care staff. Therefore, the quality improvement and recreation department collaborated to transform each individual’s assessment data into a one-page, easy to read document which is placed in a binder and made available at each nurse work area. Access to this information has empowered direct care workers to build relationships with those they are providing care for. This resource also provides suggestions for non-pharmacological interventions that staff can utilize immediately when an individual expresses distress. Staff members welcomed the opportunity to learn more about the unique interests and stories of those they care for.

The second initiative, the “PAL Card”, is another intervention to communicate PELI preference information that was developed by Miami University of Ohio in collaboration with four local nursing home providers. Preferences for Activity and Leisure (PAL) Cards are 5×7, laminated cards that convey an individual’s most important preferences related to leisure activities as it travels with them throughout the organization. The front of the card includes the individual’s name and brief biographical information, the back includes 6 individualized topics identified as most important to the individual during their PAL interview. During the pilot testing of this initiative, it was reported that the PAL Cards facilitate conversation, which both care staff and the individuals receiving care enjoy.

Asking individuals about their preferences provides an opportunity to get to know what is truly important to them and is central in celebrating their life’s stories. In both initiatives, the utilization of the PELI provides a foundation for person-centered care, ensuring the individual’s voice is heard by assessing and communicating their preferences. If you are interested in learning more about the PELI or the All About Me and PAL Card initiatives, we encourage you to join us at the 2018 Pioneering a New Culture of Aging conference on August 15th where members of the Preference Based Living team will lead two half-day intensive sessions. For more information on these sessions visit the Pioneer Network’s conference website. If you have questions about the PELI and/or All About Me and PAL Card initiatives, contact