Change. Often this is imposed on us from above. But what if you were the change-maker? What difference could you make in your workplace?

change dayInternational Change Day is fast approaching – mark it on your calendar: Wednesday 11th March 2015. What is it? Change Day is a social movement, led by individuals and organisations aimed at targeting better health outcomes in health, aged care and community services.

‘It’s easy to get caught up believing that change needs to start somewhere else. We can end up waiting for someone else to ‘fix’ things or waiting for someone to give us permission to be amazing, or even just to do what we know needs to be done.’

People and organisations make pledges; pledges to be present with their clients, to seek to treat them as an individual, to get to know patients better or to make themselves more aware of issues that might impact on their client group. These are just a few of the thousands of pledges on the Australian Change Day website. It is about the individual taking action at work over those areas that they can control and making the workplace better for those they care for and support.

Here at CDCS we are aware that we have the potential and influence to make a difference to the individuals and groups we support. So what is our pledge?

‘We pledge to actively promote the importance of person centred care to organisations, individuals and groups that we work with throughout this year and beyond.’

What is ‘Person Centred Care’?

In a recent blog article on the Change Day website, Catherine Crock, Executive Director of the Australian Institute for Patient and Family Centred Care, spoke of two key projects she was involved in.  One project, specifically targeting aged care, was ‘Do you know me?’, a play by Alan Hopgood that focused on the issues of respect, dignity and good communication.

In Aged and Disability support work, the many issues, challenges and daily tasks can sometimes obscure the core principles of ‘care’. We can overlook the importance of getting to know our clients.

Taking time to understand clients, their circumstances, family context, relationships, concerns and the physical environment they live in is critical to being able to identify and provide quality care according to the expectations of the individual.

The term ‘person centred care’ means:

  • Putting the person at the centre of their own care planning and service delivery, making them an equal partner in the process. It embraces the idea of ‘no decision about me, without me’ and includes consideration of the goals and desires of the individual and their family.

The key principles of client centred care include:

  • Knowing the client as a ‘person’ – building relationships with the client and their family;
  • Respecting preferences and treating clients as partners in setting goals, planning care and making decisions about care and support;
  • Providing information in ways the client can understand to ensure they are able to make informed decisions;
  • Working as a team to minimise duplication and maximise client outcomes, providing positive experiences;
  • Ensuring the physical, organisational and cultural environments support the provision of quality service.

Practical tips on how to implement person centred care in a community care setting:

  • Conduct a thorough client assessment, including gathering information on the social and emotional needs of the person, their personal goals and expectations, as well as their physical needs;
  • Develop a working relationship with the person, find out their history and family connections;
  • Recognise the cultural and spiritual needs of the individual when providing support services;
  • Support the client in their goals for independence wherever possible;
  • Enable the client and their family to do as much as possible themselves rather than taking over;
  • Gather feedback from clients and their families on their level of satisfaction of services provided;
  • Provide information on the program, entitlements and options in a way that the client can understand, for example, pictorial brochures and text in plain English for those with language, literacy and numeracy issues;
  • Likewise, keep the person informed about changes or updates in a format that is easily understood and in a medium they are comfortable with. Don’t just hand out a brochure – take the time to sit and talk with them;
  • Network with other health and care providers and support services in order to see the ‘big picture’ of an individual; and
  • Collaborate with other service providers where needed to ensure a more ‘whole service’.

So what about you? What is your pledge? Check out the Change Day website at and add your pledge to the many thousands of individuals throughout Australia who want to make a difference.

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