We facilitated More Than Meds, an 18-month project funded by the New Jersey Department of Health, utilizing CMS Civil Monetary Penalty (CMP) funds, to reduce the use of antipsychotics in nursing homes through a person-centered approach. Although a focus was on reducing antipsychotics, More than Meds was really about more than medications. It was about creating better places to live and work. More than Meds gave two organizations the skills and tools they need to strengthen person-centered care in all their interactions.
Person-centered care is about starting with what is important to people living in nursing homes and creating systems to support these individuals and those working most closely with them. This requires us to change the way we do things, moving from an institutional model to a person-centered one; hence the term “culture change.” Culture change refers to the process of becoming more person-centered.
A team from Rutgers University, including Michele Ochsner, PhD and Kathy Lehmann, along with consultants Sonya Barsness, Denise Boudreau-Scott, and project assistant Allison Duda, worked with two nursing homes to facilitate their transformation to person-centered care.
This toolkit is possible through the hard work and dedication of Bergen Regional Medical Center (BRMC) and Parker at McCarrick (formerly McCarrick Care Center) who participated in the More than Meds project. It is through the dedication of those who live and work at these homes that we can share their experiences and wisdom with nursing homes across the country.
The goal of the project was to instill person-centered care through a participatory, action-oriented approach that will educate and empower residents, family members, and direct care staff, as well as train leaders in a sustainable approach to change. Education creates a strong foundation, but education alone will not lead to sustainable change without aligning organizational systems and processes with new practices. This project truly was about more than just reducing the use of medications.
As a result of the experiences and hard work of the entire More than Meds team and homes, we are proud to bring you this toolkit, which summarizes the processes and tools used in the More than Meds project, along with lessons learned. This toolkit is not meant to be an exhaustive step-by-step manual to culture change. Rather, it is meant to provide you with resources to help you on your own journey, based on our collective experiences.
We hope this toolkit will help you to start, or continue, your own “culture change” and will guide you in your organization’s journey to become a better place to live and work through person-centered care. The importance of becoming both a better place to live AND work cannot be understated. Creating a culture in which all team members feel supported, heard, and valued is a vital part of person-centered care, and is foundational to this toolkit.