Keynote Speaker Hopeful for Cultural Shift to Person-Centred Care

Patricia Boucher, Executive Director of AGE, gives her keynote address at SafeCare BC’s speaker event last week.

Last week SafeCare BC hosted a speaker event titled Aggression, Person-Centred Care and Staff Safety: A Clash of Concepts? which featured a keynote address from Patricia Boucher, a Registered Nurse with over 30 years of experience in the health care sector and who is currently the Executive Director for the Advanced Gerontological Education (AGE) in Ontario.

Boucher’s presentation focused on AGE’s Gentle Persuasive Approaches (GPA) which are effective, person-centred care modules for people living with dementia.

“GPA is a comprehensive, practical education program that equips care providers with the knowledge, understanding and skill to deliver person-centred dementia care within a context of humanism, professionalism, and interpersonal artistry,” said Boucher. “The overall Goal of GPA is: ‘Using a person-centred, compassionate and gentle persuasive approach, respond respectfully and with confidence and skill to behaviours associated with dementia.’ The curricula equips caregivers with practical approaches to dealing with responsive behaviours and is designed to be delivered to all staff in a home – from healthcare aides, to food and environmental services.  It is sustainable in that it changes practice”

“Person-centred care is an essential strategy for our care providers in providing care to older persons with dementia,” she said. “It allows care providers to see the person with dementia, as a person – so that they are better able to appreciate the person behind the disease process. Care providers employing person-centred care are more competent, compassionate and respectful in their care contributing to quality care and a safe, and healthy workplace.”

The objectives of the GPA curricula are:


  • Understand that a person with dementia is a unique human being capable of interacting with the outside world
  • Explain the relationship between the disease process and the person’s behavioural response
  • Apply emotional, environmental and interpersonal communication strategies to prevent and diffuse responsive behaviours
  • Demonstrate suitable and respectful techniques to use in situations of risk

Boucher hopes that those who attended last week’s discussion will have an increased awareness of how effective person-centred care can be for people living with dementia.

“Employers and care providers really need to make a cultural shift to person-centered care,” said Boucher. “This requires a shift in attitudes and skills. We need to adopt evidence-based curricula, such as GPA to equip our care providers with the necessary skills and confidence to care for older adults with dementia. This requires the commitment of employers to ensure they are supporting staff with the necessary education and training.”

“Further, we need to ensure that we implement the required infrastructure to support timely client assessments and communication processes. In summary, we need to transform the way in which we provide care to older adults with behavioural challenges. By adopting  evidence-based dementia care curricula  grounded in person-centred care, we will not only achieve quality client care but we will also protect our caregivers creating a safe and healthy work environment for all.”

Below is a video for the GPA module, with a focus on person-centred care:


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