Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Person-Centered Care: Nursing Home Culture Change (Photograph Research, Video 4:00)

Change is not always easy, especially if there is widespread acceptance that practices are working well the “wrong” way. Fortunately, the growing movement of nursing home culture change across America is transforming beliefs in what the “home” part of nursing home really should look and feel like. In many cases, reluctant staff members who resisted change at first are seeing the benefits, particularly regarding improvements in residents’ health.

Even something simple like automated historical digital displays of residents' photographs to remind staff of each resident’s personhood can positively impact patient-staff communication. Researchers at the University of Kansas School of Nursing displayed residents’ historical photographs in digital frames in their rooms. They compared audio-recorded staff-resident conversations before this intervention with conversations afterwards. Results indicated increased staff person-centered talk and less task-oriented talk. Residents spoke more about interpersonal topics. Their engagement and reminiscence improved. Implementing low-cost historical photo displays in residents' rooms enhanced person-centered communication. 

Many other interventions can advance person-centered care in nursing homes. Staff members who have made the paradigm shift from traditional nursing home settings to nursing homes with person-centered environments and practices can best explain the transformations of themselves and residents. 

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback at many booksellers and in e-book form at Amazon and Barnes and Noble booksellers.


  1. Such a good idea! Especially in the case of dementia patients, I often don't learn much about them until I read the obituary after they've died. So many times I've been surprised to learn about someone's past activities... I think volunteers and staff should be made aware of these before the patient dies. It would certainly help me open up conversations with some of them. Even photographs are helpful starting points.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. I totally agree, PJ. Usually volunteers are given some basic patient information to begin with, but it's always helpful to know more conversation starters related to relatives, hobbies, interesting experiences, and the past in general etc.

    You mentioned in comments on another post that you are a new volunteer. You might want to consider making life reviews for some of your patients. I enjoyed doing that, and it really helped me know them better. This blog post shares one of my experiences:

    Glad my blog has been able to help you with good information. I wish you the best on your volunteer journey.