Person-Centered Care (PCC)

Person-Centered Care (PCC) is a concept that aims to make nursing home care more focused on the residents. PCC promotes quality care and the best possible quality of life for residents by strengthening their rights to a dignified life, self-determination, a safe and comfortable environment, and to give residents better control over their daily lives.  Other names for PCC include “Culture Change” or “resident-directed care”.

PCC carries out the intent of the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, the basis for all nursing home regulations.  2016 updates to those protections include PCC requirements that put a “greater focus on addressing a resident’s individual needs and preferences.  A nursing home must learn more about who the resident is as a person, provide greater support for resident preferences and give residents increased control and choice.

There is a national movement led by the Pioneer Network that promotes PCC concepts.

Why Does PCC Matter?

This model of care betters the nursing home experience for residents by respecting and honoring the voices of residents.

For example, like any person, residents have a preference as to when they want to wake up, when they go to sleep, and when they like to eat.  Just because someone is living in a nursing home does not mean that he/she should be forced to give up his/her daily schedule. Entering a nursing home should not mean giving up even the most basic of living habits. PCC ensures that these preferences are not only considered, but are integrated into daily care.

PCC puts the residents first.  It aims to give residents as much autonomy and independence as possible — and as a result, residents reap many benefits with improved physical and mental health. PCC also ensures that certified nursing assistants (CNAs) have a more direct role in resident care, as they are the primary caregivers in nursing homes — and as a result, job satisfaction improves which creates a more stable workforce benefiting all.

It all boils down to one key difference – “hospital” living versus “community” living, where residents have actual autonomy rather than just being subject to facility rules.

PCC is designed to bring the focus of care back to the residents rather than having it focused on the needs and restrictions of the nursing home.

How you can find out if a nursing home practices PCC

There is no way to measure, for sure, if a nursing home adheres to PCC.  However, there are three key questions that can be asked to get a sense of a nursing home’s commitment to PCC:

  • Will residents always have the same CNAs taking care of them throughout their time at the nursing home, or are CNAs rotated to different units every few months? 
  • Do CNAs participate in the care planning process for the residents they care for?
  • Do residents have any direct influence in how they go about their day (i.e. when they wake up and go to sleep, eat their meals, etc.)?

A Final Note on PCC

As with any movement toward improving care, change happens over time.  Consequently, nursing homes are at different stages, or may not have even started integrating person-centered care.

This information and your observations will help you determine how committed a nursing home is to implementing person-centered care.  If possible, select a nursing home with a serious commitment to advancing person-centered approaches.

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