Helping measure person-centred care

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This rapid review summarises research about measuring the extent to which care is person-centred.  It signposts research about commonly used approaches and tools to help measure person-centred care. It aims to showcase the many tools available and includes a spreadsheet listing 160 of the most commonly researched measurement tools.

Three key questions guided the review:

  • How is person-centred care being measured in healthcare?
  • What types of measures are used?
  • Why and by whom is measurement taking place?

A spreadsheet listing 160 of the most commonly researched measurement tools allows users to search according to the type of tool, who it targets and the main contexts it has been tested in. Hyperlinks to the abstracts of examples of research using each tool are also provided.

The review shows that, while a large number of tools are available to measure person-centred care, there is no agreement about which tools are most worthwhile.  It also makes clear that there is no ‘silver bullet’ or best measure that covers all aspects of person-centred care. Combining a range of methods and tools is likely to provide the most robust measure of person-centred care.


I think it is very difficult to convey to the Health Service that person centred care does not need to be measured if it is happening. If it is happening, it will extend far past the Health Service anyway, and be a social model. With our experience of the Health Service, it was extremely easy to achieve person centred care: to have an trusted assistant accompany the disabled person throughout the day when he was a day patient: to have appointments scheduled so that they were convenient to the patient. When he was an inpatient, his own personal staff went to attend to his needs in the hospital,as they would at home, thus taking a huge weight off the Nursing staff. How did we do it? We found people who not only listened but acted on our problems and were willing to address them on an individual basis. This was not difficult to do. Consultants, Nurses, surgeons, all worked around getting the patient in and out and back to his normal life within four hours. It was always achieved. What needs to be measured is the reluctance to attempt it. There is the problem that nobody knows what it looks like. I also feel the deep belief in some people that makes no difference/ or that they are doing it already. However, is as different as night is from day. But the only person who can measure it is the recipient/patient, and they are not always trusted. So, health professionals, you have a problem. You are being asked to TRUST someone else. This is a RISK you do not seem prepared to take. It is not comfortable for you. You see yourselves as the experts, when in fact, the patient frequently knows himself or herself better, or is usually able to with assistance and education.. My last point If in patient treatment was required over a number of days, his personal staff were sent in to the hospital to assist with washing, bathing. getting him up and dressed. The Nurses gradually stopped resenting them, and became very grateful. On one occasion I was harangued by the ward staff because I could not find an Assistant to help him to bed on a Saturday night - so quickly did they become used to it. NOW THINK ABOUT THAT. The Nurses were actually fighting for what they knew the patient wanted. I believe that is called advocacy for personalisation. THAT is personalisation.
by Linda Jane McLean

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