July 17, 2014 - Rachel Rushing | Rose Villa is excited to be participating in LeadingAge’s Word Up Challenge pilot project. Language is important in our field. Words influence behavior and therefore language really does matter. At the heart of this belief, is the concept of person centered care, which places great value on the power of language. The idea behind person-centered language is to acknowledge and respect long-term care residents as individuals. Using person-centered language is often as simple as reversing common phrases to put the person first and the characteristic second. For instance ‘a wheelchair-bound resident’ becomes ‘a person who uses a wheelchair for mobility.
’Four words have been set out to be eliminated from our collective vocabulary 1) Facility, 2) Beds, 3) Industry and 4) Old People. When someone from Rose Villa uses one of the ‘bad’ words, they must place a card with that word printed on it in the ‘Swear Jar,’ located in the Health Center. So, if I say, ‘we have 40 beds in our Health Center,’ I must put a ‘beds’ card in the jar. What I should have said was, ‘we have 40 residents living in our Health Center.’ At the end of the pilot challenge, the organization with the least cards in the jar wins. Beware of our Lingo Squad. Staff are listening and ready to give you alternative ways of using language that acknowledges and respects everyone that lives here!