person-centred care

Person-centred dementia care: a reality check in two nursing homes in Ireland

Colomer, J. and de Vries, J.
Person centred approaches to care (PCC) in Ireland are widely accepted at policy and management level. This study aimed to examine the reality of its practice.
Colomer & De Vries (2016) took a phenomenological approach to identify the perceptions and experiences of care workers in two nursing homes with a PCC policy. They found that most participants had not received training or education in PCC. They were vague and confused on questions examining their knowledge of PCC. Participants placed high value on training in practice, identifying team work as essential and highlighting the pressures of time and staffing constraints. The study found evidence of implicit knowledge of PCC but participants continued to describe aspects of good care within a task orientated framework. The authors acknowledge that the study is limited by size and recruitment from only 2 homes. However care assistant training in Ireland is standardised so they suggest it reflects issues across Ireland and a need to assess and most likely improve training.

Providing optimal palliative care for persons living with dementia: a comparison of physician perceptions in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom

Brazil, K., Galway, K., Carter, G. and van der Steen, J.T.
Journal of palliative medicine
In this paper Brazil et al. (2017) set out to measure and compare physician perceptions on the recently issued European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) framework, defining optimal palliative care in dementia. A cross sectional postal survey was used in the Netherlands and Northern Ireland.
In both countries the three most important domains in optimal palliative care were identified as treating symptoms for comfort, family involvement and person centred care, supporting EAPC recommendations. Both countries identified the same barriers including lack of education among professional teams and lack of awareness among the general public. However barriers were perceived to be lower in Netherlands. The authors recommend that in the Netherlands an increased focus on person centred care, public awareness and acceptance of palliative care for dementia is required while in N.Ireland there should also be a focus on person centred care but additionally on specialist support and initiatives encouraging family involvement.

Reconciling mental health recovery with screening and early intervention in dementia care

International Journal of Mental Health Nursing

Irving and Lakeman (2010) acknowledge that the concept of person-centred care has become a catchphrase for good care but has not resulted in improvements in care for everyone with dementia.

They take a critical look at the concept of recovery as used in mental health and its potential application to dementia care. They explore the similarities and differences between it and person-centred care, the difficulties of using the concept of recovery in the context of a degenerative condition such as dementia and take a closer look at its relevance for dementia screening and early intervention. They conclude that the recovery movement has much to offer dementia care and vice versa. 

Developing theoretical understandings of dementia and their application to dementia care policy in the UK


Innes and Manthorpe (2013) critically assessed three influential theoretical perspectives (biomedical, psycho-social and critical social gerontology) in shaping dementia policy in different regions of the UK.

They offer the policy document used in the consultation process of the national dementia strategy in NI as an illustrative example of policy on dementia that engages with person-centred principles, a hallmark of social-psychological perspectives on dementia.  They argue that lessons from different theoretical perspectives need to be explicitly recognised, challenged and valued for a truly integrated dementia care policy model to evolve. 

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