Partnering to advance preference based care among nursing home residents

Are you a cat person or a dog person?
Your preferences matter to this academic and community research project.

On Friday, October 20, 2017, The Knolls of Oxford Activities Director, Suzanne House, the staff and residents received a Certificate of Excellence and a robotic companion pet cat for promoting preference-based care by honoring preferences that enhance the quality of life for their residents from the Scripps Gerontology Center Preference Based Living team.

Knolls of Oxford Resident with her card

Miami University's Scripps Gerontology Center’s project, “Incorporating the Preferences for Everyday Living into Ohio’s Nursing Homes to Improve Resident Care,” is funded to partner with nursing home providers seeking to deliver person-centered care by honoring their residents’ preferences for everyday living. Translating research into practice is a hallmark of the Preference Based Living team.

The team partnered with the Knolls of Oxford, to pilot test a novel communication intervention - preferences for activities and leisure (PAL) cards with their skilled nursing residents. PAL cards provide at a glance information about a resident’s background and important preferences for daily life. Staff at the Knolls of Oxford report that PAL cards are helpful because they promote more personalized care. Residents felt that their voices were heard, which made them feel like a person. The cards spark conversations between staff, volunteers, and community members, contributing to a greater sense of connectedness.

Katherine Abbott, PhD, MGS a Preference-Based Living team member from Miami University's Scripps Gerontology Center honored Suzanne House, Knolls activities director with a robotic companion pet cat for Knolls residents that have a preference to be around animals. “We are grateful for the partnership we have with The Knolls of Oxford, which allows us to test out interventions in the real-world setting,” states Dr. Abbott. “Meeting resident preferences improve resident quality of life, increases employee satisfaction, and helps the provider meet government regulations.”

The mission of the Preference based Living team is to research and advocate for effective ways to honor important everyday preferences for people receiving long-term services and supports. In addition to scientific studies, they develop resources for formal and informal caregivers, including assessment tools, evidence-based interventions, webinars, videos, implementation manuals and tip sheets that can be found at

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