Person-centred care is becoming an increasing driver in health & social care provision. Authorities adopt it because in theory it can “improve outcomes”, to use their terminology. To you or I (the client/patient), it means we are more in control of how our care is delivered: it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to appreciate that feeling of control in itself makes us feel better!
In the UK, 2/3 of healthcare resources are spent supporting people with long term conditions, yet for up to 90% of people with a long term condition, they either care for themselves, or have family support. Research has shown(*) that several factors are the most important for affecting the outcomes of person centred care, including ‘taking a holistic approach to assessing people’s needs and providing care’.
We have said for years that such an approach- i.e. that mind and spirit affect the body- helps people with long term conditions feel more enabled, independent. And our clients substantiate that.
Would you like someone to wipe your bottom? Would you want someone to help you get on and off the loo? Would you want someone to see you naked as they dry you after a shower or bath?
Providing the equipment, or assistive technology, to do these tasks unaided has a huge psychological impact on a person’s wellbeing and mental health. Most of the people involved in the process or organising our care are able, fit and well. They do not therefore fully understand the impact that it has on the client/patient to be empowered to be able to do something very intimate, personal like going to the loo without help.
When we find ourselves in the situation of needing care, there is a natural tendency to leave things to the experts. They have the knowledge, and can advise. But historically if someone needs care, there is an automatic assumption that means providing a care worker. If aids are considered, it’s the obvious things.
The bathroom is the most common room to be adapted when someone needs care in their home, and particularly providing toilet facilities. The usual solution is a commode. And a person is still needed to wipe you afterwards. With Personal Care Budgets, you in theory have control over the money allocated for your care, and can therefore determine how and on what it is spent.
So what would be your choice: a commode, and someone (either a loved one or a stranger) to wipe your bottom, help you on and off the WC, or a toilet that can clean you, or a lifter that fits over the WC and helps you on and off? And if you need a care worker for that job for any length of time, the toilet that can clean you, or the toilet lifter, is actually cheaper!
The Better Outcomes, Lower Costs report supports that very theory- it’s a better outcome physically and mentally for the recipient, and lower cost to the social care provider to install a wash & dry toilet than a commode.
So as/when you need care, make sure it is person centred, centred on you, what you want to retain your dignity, your independence, your wellbeing, your positive mental health.
(*) Health Innovation Network: What is Person Centred Care & Why Is It Important?
By Robin Tuffley, marketing manager @ Closomat