Leaders in the Culture Change movement, such as The Eden Alternative and the Pioneer Network, are challenging our beliefs about chronic care for both elders and individuals with cognitive disabilities, and showing us that there is a better way. The movement promotes continued personal growth and well-being of all who live and work in the long-term care setting. This holistic view of support starkly contrasts the traditional medical, or treatment, model which is driven by program rules, policies, procedures, risk management, and staffing efficiencies. But through the process of Culture Change, long-term care institutions are being transformed into person-centered, Long-Term Living environments.
The person-centered approach is firmly rooted in the believe that every human being has something of value to contribute and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of age or cognitive ability. While the ways and means of creating a person-centered home, or Long-Term Living environment, may differ, there are some universal guiding principles:
Know the Person
Recognize Potential Growth
Create a Sense of Community
Build Personal Dignity and Respect
Recognize the Uniqueness of Each Person
Acknowledge and Weigh both the Risk and Rewards of Personal Choice
At the core of the Long-Term Living philosophy is the belief that “People don’t plateau, environments do.” Individuals cannot thrive in environments that fail to offer adequate hope, support, opportunity and companionship. The challenge before us is to develop and sustain environments and support the unique needs and interests of those living in it. When we do this, individuals can begin to realize their true potential.