Ana Urrutia Beaskoa

Ashoka Fellow
Gernika, Spain
Fellow Since 2015


This profile was prepared when Ana Urrutia Beaskoa was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2015.
The New Idea
Ana is implementing a successful and proven Person-Centered Care model that entails a profound change in the work culture of social and healthcare institutions, and is spreading it through a system of indicators that measure the positive impact in the patient’s quality of life, both physically and psychologically, being the key indicator the number of physical and chemical restrains removed.

Geriatrics and most care services in Spain and other countries have traditionally worked only around medical aspects. This approach that focuses on medication and risk control ignores basic aspects such as freedom and dignity, having dramatic consequences on patients both in physical and mental terms.

Starting from a personal commitment (from very young) with elderly, and moved by an ethical drive of eliminating fastenings in her own residence, Ana quickly arrived to the need of a systemic change in the sector. Her vision is that quality care and patient centered care should be given and could be given to all elders and patients in socio-sanitary, socio-care, socio and sanitary centers in Spain and beyond and she therefore defined and implemented an evolutionary care model based on 4 principles:

Eliminating excessive medication and above all physical and chemical restrains
Creating a certification process to promote a behavioral change in institutions and as a sign of change
Lobbying public administrations to demand quality care by law
Developing a replicable model through a partners’ network

Ana is instituting a new framework in the socio-sanitary sector, focusing on staff and management training and follow-up, as well as establishing measurable quality of life indicators, certified by her foundation, Cuidados Dignos (Dignified Care).

Changing working culture of socio care institutions implies changes on management models, architectural adaptations, in some cases small investments in technological innovation and, above all, a change in the roles and responsibilities of the staff. The professionals, independently of their position, cooperate as a team to find solutions to day to day challenges,, and undertake new roles and responsibilities in their routines. These changes allow the institution and its professionals to adapt to the needs and desires of the patients, and not the other way around.

By placing not only the patient at the core of the care system, but also prioritizing the wellbeing and participation of staff and team members, Ana is achieving a transformation that positively influences the work environment, helping reduce worker burnout, humanize the relationship with the patient’s family, and improve the physical and mental health of people in residential homes, hospitals or day care centers.

Ana is creating a competitive sector that recognizes that better care for elders, based on their needs, personalities and above all based on their dignity, is necessary.

Pulling from her experience in this field, Ana is piloting this new system in geriatrics, with the intention of expanding to other areas of care for dependent people.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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