What is Person Centred Care?

Person centred care sounds good, but what does it actually mean?


Person centred care is a term often referred to, especially in relation to the care provided by residential and nursing homes, but what does it mean?  If you're thinking about a residential or nursing home for yourself or a loved one,  this is a term you'll hear used, but is it something which actually makes a difference to the quality of care you might receive?  How do you find out if person centred care is actually being carried out in practise and how do you evaluate it?  This is what we believe it should be.





  • Person centred care focuses on the individual rather than the illnesses or abilities they’ve lost, as a result of old age or illness.
  • Person centred care is about the whole person including their needs, preferences, abilities and interests.
  • Person centred care means the individual receives treatment with dignity and respect.
  • Person centred care makes the rules and procedures fit the individual rather than the individual fitting the rules and procedures.

An important part of person centred care is person centred planning which involves helping the individual to establish, assess and plan what care they need and want, what support they require and when they would like the care to be carried out ie: is the individual a morning or evening person?


Families (if agreeable to the individual) and healthcare workers should also be involved in the planning but the ultimate decision maker has to be the individual themselves.When assessing nursing homes for a loved one, it’s important to ensure that their person centred care approach includes the following:

  • Knowing the resident as an individual
  • Respecting the individual’s needs, values and preferences
  • Providing care that is meaningful
  • Forming trusting relationships
  • Respecting freedom of choice
  • Providing physical and emotional comfort
  • Involving family as required.


Person centred care is not as complicated as it sounds. When it comes to thinking about a residential or nursing home for a loved one, make sure that person centred care is a reality rather just a statement and use this checklist to make sure they demonstrate that it’s at the very heart of all they do for and with their residents.

Author: Vicks Ward, on behalf of The Wilverley Association, a charitable organisation running residential care homes in the New Forest.


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