Four elements to person-centred care

Person Centred Care is a commonly used expression to describe the best way to look after people with dementia. Person-centred care aims to help people with dementia live better lives, despite their limitations, and make their experiences less distressing.

1. Valuing the person with dementia and those who care for them:
This involves respecting the individual by promoting their rights and entitlements as citizens regardless of age or cognitive impairment and rooting out discriminatory practice.

2. Providing individualised care:
Providing individualised care means making the health care fit the person, rather than making the person fit the rules and procedures of the health care organisation. This means taking into account the patient's physical and mental health, retained abilities and disabilities, personality, biography, preferences and values.

3. Trying to see things from the individual's perspective:
Trying to see things from the individual's perspective means thinking about how our actions might make them feel. It is important to ask the person with dementia what they want and be prepared to negotiate to agree a compromise that's acceptable to the person and the health care team.

4. Enhancing the social and emotional environment:
Enhancing the social and emotional environment involves developing and using relationships to provide comfort, inclusion, occupation, attachment and to support the person's identity or how they see themselves as a person. We need to be aware of how our responses to people with dementia might unintentionally neglect these things.