A Philosophy of Person-centered Care
Person-centered care is a philosophy based in Carl Rogers’s belief in a client-centered approach over any theory or opinion of the therapist. The person is the expert in their life history and needs and the therapist merely a facilitator.
Tom Kitwood applied the Rogerian model to caring for older adults with dementia to emphasize the person approach over the medical/behavioral expert approach generally taken with those of diminished cognitive capacity. Older adults with dementia are not children to be guided and trained how to behave, but adults with a life history, formed opinions, habits of independence and preferred activities and ways of life. In her article What is person-centred care in dementia? Clinical Gerontology 2004 13; 215-222) Dawn Brooker described Kitwood’s emphasis on communication and relationship as rooted in authentic interactions.
Brooker defined person-centered care consisting of four elements:
- Valuing people with dementia and those who care for them (V)
- Treating people as individuals (I)
- Looking at the world from the perspective of the person with dementia (P)
- A positive social environment in which the person living with dementia can experience relative wellbeing (S)