Concern exists among dementia care experts about the overall and uneven quality of dementia care across the country. Person-centered care practices have not been widely adopted despite being recommended by the Institute on Medicine and the World Health Organization. These practices have been demonstrated to provide the most humanistic and positively oriented approach to care, services, and supports.
It is especially important for people living with dementia as, all too often, they are treated as if they are ‘less’ human and whose needs revolve only around their activities of daily living (e.g., dressing, bathing, toileting, grooming). They are perceived as not having preferences or interests to experience fun and social connections when, in fact, they indeed do. Person-centered care practices reorient this poor approach to care and are centered on nurturing each individual’s sense of dignity, self-determination and individuality and supporting personal preferences, values and choices.
The 1st Dementia Thought Leaders Summit was convened in Washington, DC in June 2012 by leaders from CCAL-Advancing Person-Centered Living, English Rose Suites, the Mayo Clinic’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Research Center, Samueli Institute, and UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. The purpose of the Summit was to form consensus on: (1) the definition of person-centered dementia care; and (2) the conceptual and operational framework for person-centered dementia care.
A white paper titled, “Dementia Care: The Quality Chasm” was published.