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WHATProfessionals in long-term care advocating for radical culture change in elderly nursing care by providing resources and training for person centered care.
WHYTo challenge the old way of thinking about elder care into a more person centered care.
WHEREPioneer Network.
Based in Chicago, IL, USA. Program access available across the USA.

Program Description

"Part of transforming long-term care practice is finding new words to describe staff, programs, parts of the building, and the 'industry' itself… i've been immersed in a new type of language called 'person-centered.' The idea behind person-centered language is to acknowledge and respect long-term care residents as individuals. Using person-centered language, I've learned, is often as simple as reversing common phrases to put the person first and the characteristic second. 'A wheelchair-bound resident,' for instance, becomes 'a person who uses a wheelchair for mobility,' and 'a feeder' becomes 'someone who needs assistance with dining.' "

Karen Schoeneman, "The Language of Culture Change" source:

The “Pioneer Network” was started by a group of professionals in long-term care to advocate for person-directed care who are seeking a radical culture change in elderly nursing care.

The idea behind the long-term care culture change movement is a departure from institutionalized models to more person centered models of geriatric nursing care that promote flexible schedules, more choice and self-determination.

The program is appropriate for CEOs, administrators, family caregivers, doctors and geriatric nurses, direct care providers, and others.

The “Pioneer Network” promotes the following person centered values and principles:

  • Know each person, each person can and does make a difference
  • Relationship is the fundamental building block of a transformed culture
  • Respond to spirit, mind and body
  • Risk taking is a normal part of life
  • Put person before task
  • All elders are entitled to self-determination wherever they live
  • Community is the antidote to institutionalization
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
  • Promote the growth and development of all
  • Shape and use the potential of the environment in all its aspects: physical, organizational, psycho/social/spiritual
  • Practice self-examination, searching for new creativity and opportunities for doing better
  • Recognize that culture change and transformation are not destinations but a journey, always a work in progress

In order to facilitate nursing home culture change The “Pioneer Network” has developed “ElderSpeak” an area that seeks to change the language that has traditionally been used in long-term care. The idea is that using person centered language increases the quality of elder to caregiver communication and promotes a more positive approach to elder care.

Topics under “ElderSpeak” include:

-Addressing Language and the Elder-Provider Relationship
-Language that Bothers People
-Patronizing Speech
-How Elders React
-Response Styles

A webinar is available called “Paradigm Busters” which aims to change the paradigm to a more person centered care, think out of the box way of thinking about elder nursing care. The “Pioneer Network” also hosts an annual conference to promote innovative thoughts and ideas on how to change long-term care culture.

The mission of the “Pioneer Network” is to advocate and facilitates a nursing home culture change and a shift in the culture of aging through education and training, community relationships and support, changes in public policy, and research.




Find out more about the “Pioneer Network – Culture Change in Long-Term Care” Program

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