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Person-centred care made simple

What everyone should know about person-centred care

The challenges facing the NHS are well understood. There are growing numbers of older people and people living with long-term conditions and disabilities. At the same time, health and social care budgets are under increasing pressure. If we are to provide high quality care that affords people the best possible quality of life, we need to rethink the relationship between people and the services that provide their care.

In person-centred care, health and social care professionals work collaboratively with people who use services. Person-centred care supports people to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to more effectively manage and make informed decisions about their own health and health care. It is coordinated and tailored to the needs of the individual. And, crucially, it ensures that people are always treated with dignity, compassion and respect.
This might seem a common sense vision for any form of health care, but it is not standard practice. Often, health care does ‘to’ or ‘for’ people rather than ‘with’ them, finds it difficult to include people in decisions, and views people’s goals only in terms of particular clinical outcomes.

Adopting person-centred care as ‘business as usual’ requires fundamental changes to how services are delivered and to roles – not only those of health care professionals, but of patients too – and the relationships between patients, health care professionals and teams. Despite the challenges in making this shift, person-centred care does exist, in a modest but growing number of services, with positive outcomes. It requires effort, but it certainly is possible.

This guide seeks to provide a quick overview of person-centred care. It is written for anyone interested in health and health care, including health care professionals and those who use the NHS.