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Supporting collaborative relationships

Associate Professor Helen Forbes outlines how partnership-centred care supports the needs and preferences of older people.
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Based on our research, our team has found evidence that older people have a sense of disempowerment and place great emphasis on the importance of effective communication and being a partner in the staff-resident relationship. We also found evidence the family members want to be involved in the older person’s life, and they want rapport and effective communication with staff. Partnership-centred care provides a high standard of individualised care, and it recognises the personal the rights of the individual to be involved in making decisions about their care. Wellbeing is optimised and independence encouraged and promoted. It also fosters positive environments with collegiality and reciprocity between partners-in-care as they work towards common goals.
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Effective communication between the person, the family members and healthcare team members provide the foundation to quality care. Family members and healthcare team members strive to fulfil preferences of the older person, while balancing the risks against the person’s safety. Communication ensures that the voice and perspectives of all partners-in-care are respectfully considered and enacted where possible, using a consultative approach.

There are a number of ways in which a partnership approach helps support the needs and preferences of older people.

These include:

  • providing a high standard of individualised care
  • recognising the personal rights of older people
  • encouraging independence
  • fostering a positive environment
  • working together to achieve common goals.

In this video, Associate Professor Helen Forbes outlines some of the common issues older people experience when moving into aged-care relationships and how, by encouraging more effective communication between partners-in-care, a partnership approach seeks to better support the needs and preferences of older people.

Your task

Watch the video and, in the comments, share your ideas about what older people’s needs and preferences might be and why some models of care fail to support them.

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Caring for Older People: a Partnership Model

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