Values-based and person-centred practice are the ‘golden threads’ that should run through all dementia learning and development activities. The values-based approach views each person as unique, with individual needs, wishes and identity.
You’ll need an understanding of core values to develop a values-based approach. This includes:
- attitudes that are focused on understanding, kindness, empathy and being brave. They should be seen as a core value and the first step towards effective practice
- listening and using senses, so staff use what they see, hear and feel. This helps people with dementia be active participants in their care
- knowing that words matter and being skilful in using value-based communication. This includes promoting and using language that promotes kindness, dignity, respect and advocacy
- staff being confident they have the knowledge and skills to support people with dementia and their families to take positive risks and understand why risk-averse practice is not good for people with dementia and their families
- being sensitive to cultural diversity, ethnicity, and equity. This includes avoiding stereotyping and being aware of our unconscious biases and tendency to draw upon our long held and often biased social norms
- encouraging staff to reflect upon equality and equity, and how power relations can lead to harmful inequalities (anti-oppressive practice). At the heart of this reflection is intersectionality, which looks at the presence of lots of forms of discrimination.
Self-awareness is an important part of developing a values-based approach. We need to ‘check in’ with ourselves to acknowledge, understand and identify the nature of our biased attitudes and values (doing so with kindness and without judgment towards ourselves). This is essential to make sure we recognise our bias and its potential influence on our practice. Learning and development approaches should enable this ‘check in’.
A culture of value-based care needs to run through of organisations, teams and individuals. Practitioners at all levels should be valued, supported and empowered to work together to build a culture based on a value-based care. Learning and development activities can help build this culture.