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Person Centred Care

Person centred care is actually quite a complex thing to define – what is it that makes care person centred? Is it being friendly, looking at a patient as an individual, communicating well, being empathetic or just listening and paying attention to patients? In a recent conceptual review of the literature on person centred care, Duncan and colleagues (in preparation) pointed out that person centred care has a broad understanding/definition, and that actually, even though we all talk about person centred care, we may actually be meaning subtly different things. Duncan and colleagues did, however, pull the key literature together to suggest that person centred care was experiential for patients and involved treating each patient as an individual person, with their own personal identity, life story, and life plans. In addition, recognising that person centred care involves a relationship and mutual understanding and respect between the health care provider and the patient.

Person Centred Care: Why measure it?

  • Person centred care is a key driver in health care provision.
  • Numerous sources have identified associations between good person centred care and patient improvement (e.g., Baumen et al., 2003; Duncan et al., in preparation). This link is probably in part due to patients adhering to treatments and care plans better when they feel they have been treated individually as opposed to having received poor person centred care. In addition, good person centred care has been linked to decreased morbidity and improved quality of life for patients (Baumen et al., 2003).
  • Through measuring how person centred your patients perceive your care to be, you can act to improve or maintain your own person centred standards.
  • Person centred care can involve and promote shared decision making in treatment, so can help to get the patient involved in the management of their illness.

Measuring Person Centred Care: What will it tell you?
You should measure person centred care if you want to assess how person centred your patients perceive you to be. It will inform you of this and will give you an indicator of whether your patients feel that they are receiving adequate person centred care or not. Through this you will be able to act to improve your own person-based skills and therefore improve your person centred care. It can be measured at the clinician or the service level.

Person centred outcome measures will not tell you how effective treatments or specific patient care plans have been – it is looking more at the ‘human’ level of care.

To look at the person centered measures recommended in the Framework (and move onto Stage 3click here.


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