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What You Need to Know about Culture Care

In the past few years there has been quite a buzz throughout the long term care industry about creating culture change in nursing homes. However, many Certified Nursing Assistants I have talked to have never heard of this. 

For more than ten years a small group of early pioneers in the long-term care field have worked to fundamentally change the values, practices and culture of their organizations to create places for living and growing, rather than for declining and dying.

In 2000, these reform leaders from around the United States established the Pioneer Network  as the umbrella organization for the Culture Change movement. In recent years, this movement has expanded to include home and community-based services.

The long term care industry is changing for the better, and CNAs need to be part of making that change happen. In order for these changes to happen everyone involved needs to have a understanding of what culture change actually is and what is involved.

What is Culture Change?
Culture change also known as person-centered care is for the elderly to feel “at home” wherever they live.  It is always evolving to meet the needs of the residents. This may include creating living spaces that allow for privacy, comfort and personalization.

What are the Main Goals of Implementing Culture Change in LTC?
  • restoring control over daily living to residents
  • respecting the right of residents to make their own decisions, which involves all levels of staff in the care process
  • Including families in a broad team building approach to care
  • provide a familiar and hospitable environment,
  • a supportive workplace and responsive, individualized care practices that focus on the needs and preferences of people, rather than those of the facility.

What are the benefits from implementing Culture Change?

Resident benefits
  • reduces loneliness
  • helplessness
  • Boredom
  • improves physical and mental health
  • reduces depression and behavioral problems
  • reduces unanticipated weight loss, reduces mortality

Staffing benefits
  • Reduces employee turnover
  • Eliminates temporary agency staffing
  • Reduces mandatory overtime
  • Reduces workers’ compensation claims/costs
  • Involves CNAs in the care plan meetings
  • Working together with groups of residents on an on-going basis, rather than rotating assignments
  • Improves employee, resident, and family satisfaction
  • Increases involvement with the outside community

How Can I to learn more about Creating Culture Change?
Several states have started Culture Change Coalitions.  You can learn more about the work they do to transform the culture throughout the long-term care.

Creating culture change in long term care will require changes in the primary organizational and with individual beliefs and philosophies.  These kinds of changes will lead to better outcomes for residents, their families, and Certified Nursing Assistants.

The success of establishing a culture change environment requires the efforts of everyone in the long term care facility.  It can't just be the vision of the administrator, nor can it only be a grassroots effort by the Certified Nursing Assistants. To be fully successful will depends upon an altogether integrated effort from all in LTC.