We often talk about providing person-centred care, but what does that really mean? Ultimately, person-centred care is about making sure that people are involved in and have a say in their own care and support. It’s about doing things with people, and not to or for them.
The nature of this approach means that how we spend time with the people we support can look very different from person to person. It also means that we have to be intentional with how we spend time with people; person-centred care is a process that takes time to get to know the person we’re supporting, and their interests and goals.
Last November we introduced a new staff position to help support clients’ personal interests in a more purposeful way: Residential Outreach Workers (ROWs). The position was introduced to support our residential clients in pursuing personal goals and participating in the Powell River community.
ROWs are different from residential support staff in that their primary focus is on social engagement and relationship-building. “Clients are out in the community a lot more,” Roberta, one of our six ROWs tells us. “You’re able to see unpaid relationships develop between residents and community members.”
While the program has taken shape a little differently from what we had imagined given the ongoing pandemic, it’s still been a really positive change in our organization. Roberta tells us about one of the individuals she supports who loves baking. While the residents in her house aren’t able to eat her creations, with Roberta’s support, she’s been baking different treats and delivering them to other residential homes. It’s given her a sense of purpose and pride in being able to learn these skills and contribute to her community in this way.
Through the ROW program, residents are getting out for walks more, visiting family, and are supported to attend activities at the Jean Pike Centre, elsewhere in the community, or over Zoom. As we all can relate, the feeling of “getting out” can make such a positive difference in our quality of life! When we asked Roberta what her favourite part of the program is, she told us “It’s the smiles you get from people; the fact that they look forward to doing all these different activities.”