What is person-centred care and why is it important

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This brief document provides an overview of what person-centred care is and why it is important.  It sets out how person-centred care is a way of thinking and doing things that sees the people using health and social services as equal partners in planning, developing and monitoring care to make sure it meets their needs and argues that it is a key component of developing high quality healthcare.

It describes nine aspects of person-centred care:

  • respecting people’s values and putting people at the centre of care
  • taking into account people’s preferences and expressed needs
  • coordinating and integrating care
  • working together to make sure there is good communication, information and education
  • making sure people are physically comfortable and safe
  • emotional support
  • involving family and friends
  • making sure there is continuity between and within services
  • and making sure people have access to appropriate care when they need it

It briefly sets out the policy framework for person-centred care as well as the evidence for a more person-centred approach to services, including the potential to improve people’s health and reduce the burden on services.  It describes four outcomes that it hopes more person-centred care will achieve:

  • improve the quality of the services available
  • help people get the care they need when they need it
  • help people be more active in looking after themselves
  • and reduce some of the pressure on health and social services

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