HomeBlog"If we know what to do... why don't we do it?" On the transfer of knowledge to professional practices within the framework of Person-Centred Care.

"If we know what to do... why don't we do it?" On the transfer of knowledge to professional practices within the framework of Person-Centred Care.

The divorce between theory and practice is a recurring theme in many areas of knowledge. In particular, the question which is the subject of this post refers to a long-standing issue concerning the gap between gerontological knowledge and its transfer to the professional sphere.

In recent decades, the relevance of contextual and personal factors to promote active ageing or to compensate for limitations in the case of people in a dependency situation has become increasingly evident. However, the proposals for intervention, their formats or the resources used are slow to incorporate the knowledge that has been acquired on very diverse issues.

The progressive interest towards Person-Centred Care that is taking place in our country has once again brought to the fore the different, sometimes divergent, itineraries along which research and professional interventions seem to take place, especially in the residential field.

Once again, there is evidence to show the impact that certain attitudes, emotions and/or behaviours of professionals have on people, especially those with fewer functional and/or cognitive resources. In many cases, this knowledge is disseminated through technical documents or training activities, which clearly and precisely offer recommendations and indicate correct and incorrect actions... but as the saying goes, "from words to deeds, there is a stretch". Therefore, this information is not always internalised and converted into new and better professional practices.

It goes without saying that changes in the design of physical and organisational contexts in residential centres, such as the creation of cohabitation units or the stability of professionals, are helping to promote greater knowledge of professionals and residents, favouring greater professional involvement and also personalisation in care. However, experience shows that although these measures are essential, they are not enough on their own.

But, we also have good news. There are more and more studies that actively involve older people in identifying what good care means from their point of view. The results of these studies, which incorporate this new perspective, indicate that the care people want is framed by issues such as meal times, participation in activities that are meaningful and provide the opportunity to maintain one's identity, or feeling loved and appreciated by caregivers and family members. All of these are everyday aspects, shaped by precise and unique details of common situations in which elderly people and professionals find themselves.

We are talking, therefore, about generating meeting places in which professionals - also researchers - and people assisted are offered the opportunity to express and improve their abilities, incorporate learning, consolidate skills and also experience well-being.

All this brings with it new scenarios for evidence-based professional interventions. In this sense, the accompaniment of professionals and elderly people in the places where "things happen" becomes especially relevant, participating jointly in the identification, incorporation, maintenance and consolidation of professional measures and practices that favour the autonomy and well-being of elderly people and... also of their carers.

In other words, it would be a matter of transferring knowledge through the opportunities offered by the daily life itineraries shared by professionals and residents. It is a "win win" strategy in which everyone involved has to win and learn.

Little by little, we have evidence of the usefulness of these training and/or educational interventions "in the field" in which findings are transferred from research to contribute to the identification and promotion of "those little things" that generate well-being in daily life.

It seems, therefore, that research in Person-Centred Care is leading us to give value to people's opinions and wishes and to identify the relevance of new intervention itineraries, linked to the environments in which people develop their daily lives.

Researchers and professionals therefore have many challenges ahead of them. The generation of knowledge in changing and diverse environments; the development of roles that accompany and promote resources and capacities; the integration of multiple knowledge, perspectives and interests are some of the questions that must be answered so that knowledge, in addition to its value in itself, also contributes to improving people's lives.

A search for evidence-based knowledge in which collaboration and the incorporation of new perspectives is key. As the African proverb says, "if you want to get there fast, walk alone. If you want to go far, walk in a group".

Taking into account all of the above, at Matia Fundazioa we have carried out the construction of a common work space​ (investigación colaborativawhich brings together professionals and people linked to the care sector with the aim of creating a setting in which to exchange different opinions, transfer knowledge and share experiences. We plan to officially present it at the conference:"Construyendo bienestar desde lo significativo y lo cotidiano"  which will be held in Donostia-San Sebastián on 5 March and to which we invite you to attend. It will be worth seeing each other.

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