In the senior healthcare world, it is crucial to understand the perspective of the resident (or patient). Once a care provider understands the world and experiences of the resident, they can help improve their quality of life. Care providers can strive to understand many aspects of life more thoroughly to change and accommodate the residents.

First of all, completing and implementing a customized care plan for each resident has been in the top ten deficiencies of nursing homes and post-acute care centers for years. This deficiency affects each resident. Understanding what it is like to be in the resident’s shoes is vital to fix this deficiency. The healthcare worker may seem like they have seen the same illnesses and recovery process many times. Still, the residents are often experiencing an illness or recovery for the first time. The residents are often scared, confused, and apprehensive. Once healthcare professionals understand the residents a little better, they can more fully understand the need for a customized and individual care plan adequately explained to the resident.

Once the healthcare workers understand the value of the individualized care plan, they can understand and meet the residents’ needs, preferences, and goals. When healthcare workers and staff make this plan according to only compliance efforts, they miss a large part of the benefit of these plans. Healthcare workers must customize care plans for the good of the resident, as there are many more long-term benefits, and they should be mindful of having care that is motivated by the resident’s goals, hopes, and preferences. This method is much more successful than making plans that progress from the regulatory rules and protocols.

Often, customized care plans can focus on their regulatory restrictions instead of the greater good of the resident. One example of this is diet and food plans. Residents often get kicked over to a different nutritionist or specialist when they have a medical need for another type of diet. Sometimes when residents are assigned new diets, or types of care plans, the resident is not taught how to address the root of the problem. Instead of putting them directly on the “therapeutic diet,” nursing homes and post-acute care centers could educate the resident to address the issues and learn more about them instead of just checking a box that they receive a specific or specialized food plan.

Another tricky aspect of care planning is having the best balance between help and autonomy. Often residents want or think they can have more independence than they are safely capable of, and often residents don’t realize that they are capable of much more than assumed. As healthcare professionals, it is vital to establish the safest, most beneficial amount of autonomy and assistance for each resident, individually, and then work towards creating more autonomy as the resident has improved health or wellness.

In conclusion, healthcare professionals need to understand what is best for the residents. To understand what is best and most helpful for each resident, healthcare workers must consider many aspects. Some of the most critical elements to consider are the risk of increased injury, preferences and needs of the resident, ability of each resident, educational opportunities, the longevity of care, and familial support and communication.