Knowledge of the client’s life and understanding history

Knowledge of the client's life and history

Knowledge of the client’s life and understanding history improves the quality of care for people with cognitive disease

23.2.2022 University of Turku

Cognitive diseases pose challenges to measuring the quality of care from a client’s perspective. In the late stage of cognitive disease, it may be challenging to get an answer to the question “what matters to you?”. Despite this, a person with a cognitive disease can enjoy a meaningful, content-rich life.

Quality is something, which is characteristic of someone. Quality can thus be thought to be a characteristic of a person with cognitive disease; it´s appropriate to his character and nature.

For the care of a person with a cognitive disease to be of high quality, information about their life history is needed. The information that is important for the care may then be that it has been important for the person to collect and use the herbs and berries from nature.

Herbs from nature? The life history of a person with a cognitive disease may be different from that of a care professional who is decades younger than them. Without a knowledge of history, it is difficult for a professional to understand the other way of life, living environment, and society of the past, which are typically present in the world of a person with a cognitive disease.

Personal history or “misbehaviour”

Urine began to smell in the sensory room of a nursing home. The scan of the situation revealed that the gentleman living in the next room had taken the birch tree wallpaper of the sensory room as the nocturnal place to relieve himself. The word “challenging behaviour” was repeatedly mentioned amongst the staff.

When the case was analyzed in more detail, the team realized that actually, they have served high-quality care from the resident’s point of view – he had allowed to do activities that belong to his life history, peeing outside. For the past rural resident, the action was appropriate. However, in nursing homes this kind of behaviour is typically, interpreted as misbehaviour.

Knowledge of the client's life and history

Individual metrics

The experience of quality care or service is unique for everyone. Thus, the quality indicators of care must also be placed individually and based on a knowledge of the life history of a person with a cognitive disease. For one, quality is produced by collecting herbs; for another, it can be something else. The collected herbs on the dining room table display the quality of care in the nursing home to the researcher.

Written by
Annikka Immonen

The author is a doctoral candidate at the Doctoral Programme in History, Culture and Arts Studies at the University of Turku, Finland. In her thesis, she is studying how do social- and healthcare professionals define the perceptions of time and the agency of the person with a cognitive disorder.

As a possible future client with a cognitive disorder, it would be important to her to organize things and sing 80’s music.


Read also about Hovi Care’s memory rehabilitation here.