Social Service Institute adopts person-centred approach to improve seniors' quality of life

Social Service Institute adopts person-centred approach to improve seniors' quality of life

SINGAPORE - The Social Service Institute today launched a first-of-its-kind in Singapore toolkit to help social service professionals caring for older persons adopt the Person-Centred Approach (PCA).

PCA is guided by the principle that the client is the expert of his or her life history and needs, and therefore, due respect, dignity and empowerment ought to be accorded to the person when caring for him or her. Therefore, the focus of care will be emphatically on the client's needs, wants and goals.

The PCA toolkit offers practical guidelines and tips in aged care, and covers areas in staff management, work processes and activities for the seniors. It advises eldercare professionals on how to create a supportive and nurturing environment that promotes growth and development for older persons. It also advocates eldercare professionals to value the clients before the care tasks so that the rights of the clients always take priority over the organisational needs.

Besides improving elderly clients' self esteem and quality of life, PCA has also been shown to bring about better service quality, cost efficiency, increased client satisfaction and higher staff productivity.

"Today's seniors are more educated and resourceful, and they want better service outcomes and more control over the services they receive. Currently, most eldercare services prioritise medical and physical issues over psychosocial needs despite psychosocial factors having a significant influence on the quality of life. It is, thus, important for eldercare professional to re-think our engagement with seniors to give them a greater sense of empowerment as service users," said Ms Tina Hung, NCSS's Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Group Director for Service Planning and Development.

The toolkit was developed by the Institute's PCA Community of Practice (CoP), which comprises 14 social service professionals from 10 eldercare organisations, such as the Alzheimer's Disease Association Caregiver Support Centre, TOUCH Community Services and AWWA Community Home for Senior Citizens.

"As fellow practitioners, we are passionate about increasing the awareness and importance of PCA in services for our clients. We wanted to create a toolkit to consolidate and share our knowledge and experiences for the benefit of other practitioners in eldercare organisations, and of course, to improve the lives of our clients," said Ms Lim Hwee Er, head of the PCA CoP and a veteran social service professional who has been in the eldercare sector for over 20 years.

The PCA toolkit was launched today at the Social Service Institute's Enables Seminar. The toolkit is available online at the Institute's CoP micro-site http://www.socialserviceinstitute.sg/PCAtoolkit.pdf and will be disseminated to eldercare professionals.

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