What is person centred care? … and why is it so important when caring for someone with dementia?

You may have heard about a ‘person-centred’ approach to dementia care, but what exactly does the term mean, and why is it so important?

Person-centred care describes a holistic approach to care which puts the priority on the person’s unique needs and desires to help them continue taking part in the things they enjoy. When someone has dementia it’s easy to just see the illness and forget about the person they used to be. The person centred approach was pioneered in the UK in the 1980s to stop this happening and is now practised worldwide.

It places the focus firmly on the person and not the illness, to ensure they are always treated with compassion and respect. The person being cared for remains at the heart of the decision making process so they are able to choose how they want their care to be delivered. The emphasis is on doing things ‘with’ them, rather than ‘to’ them, and the aim is always to help them achieve the best possible quality of life.

Why is person-centred care effective?

Person-centred care puts the emphasis on achieving mental wellbeing as well as physical health.

It puts the person at the centre of their care, looking at things from their perspective and taking into account their history, lifestyle, culture and preferences, to prioritise their overall happiness. It encourages the involvement of family and friends – who know the person best – in providing essential emotional support and not just physical care.

Collaboration between the often many different health agencies involved in a person’s care is also encouraged. A joint approach makes sure that health care is coordinated and effective, and that all aspects of a person’s health and wellbeing are attended to.

How does person-centred care help those living with dementia?

The person-centred approach enables people living with dementia to continue doing the things they enjoy, by providing them with suitable help and support as needed. This encourages a sense of purpose, routine and contentment that can provide an effective way of managing the psychological and behavioural symptoms of the disease, and has been shown to reduce agitation and aggression in people living with dementia.

Our Person-Centred approach to dementia care at Northfield House, Stroud

Our motto at Northfield House Care Home and Community is “Care with Compassion and Commitment” and our person-centred approach focuses on each person’s strengths (what they can do) as well as their needs (what they need help doing).

It recognises that a person’s mental wellbeing is as important as their physical health and enables a care plan to be devised in consultation with them that will ensure they remain safe and comfortable while still providing the best quality of life.

We pride ourselves on our strong sense of community and truly welcoming atmosphere which encourages involvement and engagement with the wide range of events and activities we offer. The home has been carefully adapted to meet the needs of those living with dementia and our dedicated team of experienced and long serving staff are specialists in dementia care.

Contact us at Northfield House to find out more about our specialist dementia residential care and short term respite care in Stroud.


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