What is person-centred health care? There are many definitions of person-centred (patient-or client-centred) health care in the literature. The Victorian Department of Human Services (2003) defines person-centred care as ‘treatment and care provided by health services [that] places the person at the centre of their own care and considers the needs of the older person’s carers’. The main features of person-centred health care derived from the literature can be encompassed within the concept of partnership. The overriding message is that person-centred care is about a collaborative and respectful partnership between the service provider and user. The service provider respects the contribution the service user can make to their own health, such as their values, goals, past experience, and knowledge of their own health needs, and the service user respects the contribution the service provider can make, including their professional expertise and knowledge, information about the options available to the service user, and their values and experience. Both the service provider and service user are important as people within the partnership, neither is interchangeable and the experiences of one cannot be generalised to another. The following principles of person-centred care, are all encompassed within the concept of partnership: 1. getting to know the patient or client as a person (holistic approach as well as individual approach) 2. sharing of power and responsibility (patient or client as expert in their own health, sharing of decision making, information, the idea of common ground) 3. accessibility and flexibility (of service provider as a person and of the services provided) 4. coordination and integration (consideration of the whole experience from the point of view of the service user) 5. having an environment that is conducive to person-centred care (supportive of staff working in a person-centred way and easy for service users to navigate).
- National Ageing Research Institute