Getting started with culture change

Table of contents

The long-term care culture change movement is characterized by a shift away from institutional provider-driven models that focus on physical care to more humane, relational models that focus on living life to the fullest and embracing flexibility, self-determination, and a sense of community. It envisions long-term care homes as places where older adults (including those living with dementia) can thrive rather than simply receive care. The same principles also apply to non-residential long-term care settings and programs (such as rehabilitation settings and support services provided in the community).

What does a relational model of living actually look like? Arcare in Australia changed its culture from one that was already successful to one where relationships came to the forefront. They believe that developing open and respectful relationships among families, staff, and long-term care residents is the most important thing they do. In fact, they assert that relationships that are as rewarding to staff as they are to residents are essential to high quality care. The clinical aspects of care are still taken care of, but the focus is on nurturing compassionate relationships and creating a joyful, happy atmosphere every day.

The following 17-minute video shows what this could look like in practice. This is just one example of relational caring in action.

Remote video URL
It Takes A Community - A relationship-focused approach to celebrating and supporting old age. Copyright 2014 Corinne Maunder and Cathy Greenblat.

More and more residential and community long-term care settings and services are making the shift. But culture change isn’t a simple process. Fortunately, the Partnerships in Dementia Care Alliance (PiDC) has developed a set of tools to help.

Getting Started With Culture Change, will help you understand the basics of culture change, the issues it can help you solve, what it involves, and what it might require of you. If you want to start a culture change initiative in your organization, we’ll provide you with a self-assessment tool to help you decide whether you’re ready to begin the process and what steps to take if you’re not.

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