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A partnership approach promotes collaboration between all people involved in an older person's care.

What is partnership-centred care?

We are living in an era of an ageing population comprised of people from culturally diverse backgrounds, while simultaneously witnessing rapid changes in technology and innovations in healthcare treatments.

Over the years there have been a number of models of care developed and implemented to address the needs of older people. However, some of these models may no longer be compatible with (or appropriate for) our current expectations.

What are the different models of care?

Some of the models of care that you might be familiar with include:

  • medical models of care where the focus is on disease and the treatment of impairments
  • traditional models of care, which tend to be routine-driven and task-focused
  • the consequences model, which focuses on rehabilitation and managing the consequences of illness, impairment and disability
  • the psychosocial model, which focuses on the individual as a person and their response to their medical condition, and mental or physical state
  • person-centred care approaches where the person requiring care is the central focus.

Which model does partnership-centred care belong to?

Partnership-centred care belongs to the Tri-focal Model of Care. This model adopts an innovative and multifaceted approach to care that addresses the following three key elements:

  1. a partnership-centred approach
  2. evidence-based health care
  3. the creation of positive environments.

The Tri-focal Model of Care was developed by Deakin University in 2008 for the Australian residential aged-care sector. However, its principles and practical applications are relevant across the global health and aged-care spectrum.

What is a partnership-centred approach?

As one element of the Tri-focal Model of Care, the partnership-centred approach builds on person-centred care approaches by extending its scope to include all partners-in-care.

This approach promotes collaboration between all those involved in an older person’s care. It recognises the values of interdependence and reciprocity, and aims to maximise the wellbeing and dignity of all by creating a positive environment that draws on the best evidence-based practice available.

Partnership-centred care works by fostering an environment that optimises a culture of collegiality in which all people involved in a care environment work together to maximise the person’s health outcomes.

What are the key features of the partnership-centred approach?

The key features of partnership-centred care include:

  • an emphasis on the interdependent roles and needs of all partners-in-care
  • fostering a professional and collegial environment that encourages all people involved in a caring relationship to work together
  • a focus on the wellbeing of everyone involved, rather than the emotional, physical or mental disability that led to the person requiring aged care
  • acknowledging the different perspectives, expectations and backgrounds of all key partners-in-care
  • ensuring that all voices are heard and their points of view respected
  • basing care decisions on the combined input of all partners with an emphasis on the older person’s wishes
  • respecting the autonomy, privacy and independence of the older person relative to their abilities
  • including all partners in the daily life and the ongoing development of the culture and practices of the facility, unit or organisation
  • engaging families and friends to participate in the care and wellbeing of older people.

Your task

Visit the Centre for Innovation and Education in Aged Care blog for more information about partnership-centred care and the Tri-focal Model. What do you think about this approach? How does it compare to other models that you may be aware of? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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This article is from the free online course:

Caring for Older People: a Partnership Model

Deakin University

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