Knowing a resident’s preferences is crucial to providing person-centered care. However, communicating important preference information with all care team members is difficult. Covid-19 has made this process even more challenging for care providers. Preferences for Activity and Leisure Cards, or PAL Cards for short, are a helpful tool that easily communicates preference information to care team members across departments and shifts.

We’ve partnered with the Ohio Department of Aging to offer virtual 1-to-1 coaching and on-demand support to Ohio nursing home providers interested in using PAL Cards for a quality improvement project (QIP) in their community.

What are PAL Cards?

PAL Cards are personalized 5×7 laminated cards that reflect a resident’s recreation and leisure preference information gathered using either the 8 activity items from the MDS 3.0 in Section F or 33 items from the Preferences for Everyday Living Inventory (PELI) (see example below). The cards are then placed on a resident wheelchair/walker/door as a way to communicate important preferences to staff, volunteers, and other residents throughout a provider community. 

Front of PAL Card
Back of PAL Card

About the PELI PAL Card Project

PAL Cards provide an easy tool to exchange information about a resident’s background and important preferences for daily life, briefly profiling each resident and highlighting their recreation and leisure interests. Care communities have found that PAL Cards promote more personalized care and prompt conversations between staff, volunteers and community members, contributing to greater interconnectedness. Participants will receive virtual training and individualized support to implement this communication tool in their communications. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis between July 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

Quality Improvement Outcomes:

  • Communicate residents’ preferences regarding important recreation and leisure interests
  • Successfully initiate conversations between staff and residents or residents and volunteers
  • Assist “fill-in” or “floating” staff to be able to quickly learn about the residents they are providing care for
  • Provide opportunities for staff and residents to develop stronger relationships
  • Increase residents well-being knowing their voices are heard and preferences understood
  • Build capacity to be able to implement PAL Cards with all residents in the community

Description of Project Activities:

  • Identify an onsite project coordinator or point person to lead the project initiative.
  • Take part in virtual training session(s) and monthly coaching calls scheduled at participant’s convenience.
  • Create PAL Cards with 15-20 NH residents.  This includes allowing for staff or volunteer time to complete PELI interviews using either the 33 recreation and leisure items from the PELI or the 8 Activity items from the MDS 3.0 assessment. 
  • Incorporate stated important preferences into the PAL Card template to create an individualized card for each resident, print, laminate, and place the resident’s PAL card, with his/her permission, on his/her walker, wheelchair, or in room so it can be visible.
  • Discuss PAL Cards during staff meetings and new employee orientation to explain their purpose
  • After PAL Cards have been completed, the project coordinator will be asked to complete a telephone interview and brief online questionnaire.
  • Staff who were involved with the implementation process and staff who come in daily contact with residents of the neighborhood testing the initiative, such as housekeeping, maintenance, and certified nurse’s assistants will also be asked to complete a short 3-5 minute questionnaire. 
  • Participation and any data collected during the duration of the study will be treated as confidential information, stored in a secure location for the duration of the project, accessed only by project personnel at Miami University and destroyed after the data have been analyzed.

Participating Organizations will Receive:

  • Virtual training for PAL Card implementation
  • Monthly coaching calls to assist with trouble shooting barriers to implementation
  • A certificate of completion
  • Provider communities who complete the project will be entered into a drawing for one of five robotic Joy for All Companion Pet Cat or Puppies (Valued at $120)

Evidence of Participation:

  • Submission of an on-line Qualtrics form requesting to participate
  • Submission of log forms tracking PAL Card data and staff feedback
  • Submission of photos of 15-20 completed and placed PAL cards
  • Completed exit phone interview to discuss outcomes

Project Dates:

Applicants will be accepted on a rolling basis between July 1 through December 31, 2020. Applications will not be accepted after December 31,2020. Support will be provided to participating communities through June 2021.

How to Join:

Sign-up to participate using the link below.

PELI PAL Card Project Registration

For more information:

Call 513-529-3605 or email Katy Abbott at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *