Person-centred care is about making sure the people who use care services such as care homes are at the centre of everything important. This is a way of doing things so people and their families are seen as experts, working alongside health professionals to get the best possible outcome.
Person-centred care isn’t just about providing the necessary healthcare. It also involves considering people’s desires, interests, individual circumstances and lifestyles. This allows them to be viewed as individuals and helps carers to take into account people’s preferences and expressed needs.
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Person-centred care takes into account what really matters to somebody receiving care, and makes sure they’re fully involved in all decisions.
The professional knowledge of carers and medical staff is combined with the personal knowledge of the person receiving care - including their values, feelings, lifestyle and preferences.
Through this mix, a care plan is tailored to the individual and is delivered in a way that the individual feels completely comfortable with.
There are many different aspects to person-centred care, including:
Person-centred care (sometimes referred to as patient-centred care) is important because it improves the independence of people receiving care. Somebody who requires extra support won’t want to feel like a burden on those around them. Instead, most people would prefer to be encouraged to take part in decisions surrounding their care and be given the confidence to live more independently.
Person-centred care is important as it focuses on all parts of an individual. Not just treatment, but also their emotional wellbeing. This helps people maintain a high quality of life and feel comfortable while receiving care. There will also be more trust between people receiving care and those providing it.
Person-centred care has benefits for both the individual and the care professionals themselves.
To start, here are some benefits for the individual receiving care:
And here are some benefits for those delivering the care services:
To help people better understand person-centred care, The Health Foundation laid out four principles that should be kept in mind whenever support is being provided to people, such as in a residential care home.
We’ve gone over each of these four principles below:
Arguably the most important aspect of person-centred care is treating people in a respectful way, listening to what they have to say and taking on board their input (as well as that of their family). Dignity in care also involves being compassionate and understanding.
Older people can often lose their independence when they go into a care service, which is why it’s important to bear in mind everyone has their own thoughts and feelings. Feeling more independent often leads to positive health and wellbeing outcomes. Showing respect for elders will go a long way in care.
Care works best when all services are aligned with each other, including supportive services and health workers. If not, a care service can be disjointed and not properly focused on the individual’s personal care needs.
Everyone involved in providing care should clearly communicate with each other while maintaining up-to-date plans and medical information.
The key to personalised care is understanding what works for one individual might not work for another. Offering person-centred care allows somebody to maintain some of their freedom while being able to fulfil any wants and needs. A less personalised approach may make it more difficult for a resident to feel empowered in being able to manage their own health.
People in care need to be involved in decision-making, especially for important decisions. Places like care homes should help people best support themselves and understand how to do so.
Making every decision on behalf of somebody may make them feel like they have no say. That’s why having regular discussions with an individual in care, their family and friends can be really helpful.
There are plenty of ways in which this approach can be intertwined with everyday life. Exactly what methods are used depends on the individual in care, what care they’re receiving and other factors, but here are some examples to give you a better idea:
Overall, not making decisions for the individual being cared for, but rather making informed decisions with them about treatment choices.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) - England’s regulator of health and social care - is also key to making sure person-centred care is provided.
They state that: “Providers must make sure that they take into account people's capacity and ability to consent, and that either they, or a person lawfully acting on their behalf, must be involved in the care planning, management and review of their care and treatment.”
The CQC can take regulatory action if they feel this isn’t being met, which often impacts a provider’s overall rating (such as a care home’s rating dropping from ‘Good’ to ‘Requires Improvement’).
Similarly, the Care Inspectorate in Scotland say that: “Keeping the person at the heart of their care during this time is even more important than ever.”
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You can tell if care is person-centred when it ticks all the necessary boxes. Here, people are treated with dignity and respect, are offered personalised support and should be given the necessary tools to live an independent and fulfilling life.
Through person-centred care, somebody’s emotional, social and practical needs can all be met. This allows them to have the best quality of life possible while feeling comfortable within a care setting.
A person-centred approach to nursing focuses on a resident's needs, wants, desires and goals. These become central to the caring and nursing process, such as that within a nursing home. Often, this means putting the person’s needs above those identified as priorities by health care professionals. Getting to know the resident and what makes them tick is key to person-centred nursing care.