There’s a disconnect in the elder care system today that is getting in the way of quality care for seniors. The problem is that the job description given to nursing home employees isn’t always exactly the same as the job that the person is really needed for—the job that will improve the quality of life of the people living in the homes.
People who are hired to do jobs like cook meals or clean these facilities are not technically required to provide any sort of care to the elderly people they work near. But perhaps their mere proximity to the elderly is enough to warrant special training.
An amazing woman named Teepa is working to make sure everyone who comes into contact with dementia patients and other elderly persons on a regular basis is trained in how to treat seniors, particularly those with memory problems.
Teepa Snow, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, is a dementia care and education specialist with a background in occupational therapy and over 30 years of experience, which has taught her a lot about how people with dementia think and what can be done to help them cope with this horrible disease. In an effort to improve care and quality of life for dementia patients (and their caregivers), Teepa leads interesting and entertaining classes and makes videos focused on difficult dementia-related situations like the one described above.
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If you were hired to clean a nursing home, should you have to knock on each patient’s door? That’s the question Teepa has for her students today in the video below.
And the answer—as you’ve likely guessed—is yes. You may have been hired just to clean, but you can’t let your task-oriented mindset take up all your focus to the point where you lose compassion for the human beings you’re doing the job for.
For you, this is just a workplace. But for them, this is home. This is the place where they spend a majority of their time, where they deserve to be able to get a little privacy and have a say in how things are done.
This perspective can be applied to a multitude of different jobs that involve working with or near the elderly. We could all stand to be governed a little less by our tasks and a little more by our compassion.
Learn more about Teepa’s idea of person-centered care and how to talk to your staff members about it in the video below.
Thank you, Teepa, for all the effort you put into making sure one of our most vulnerable demographics—dementia patients—get the care they need and deserve.
Please share to change someone else’s perspective on person-centered versus task-centered work!
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?