Understanding Person-Centred Care

The term ‘person-centred care’ is something everyone working in a care home will know. But how can you reflect this in your care of residents, in a meaningful way?

The person-centred approach was first developed by Carl Rogers, and focused on a very clear set of core conditions: familiarity, dignity and empathy – specific things that were crucial to working with individuals. Later, Professor Tom Kitwood, who developed the Enriched Model of Dementia, was the first person to use the term person-centred in regards to understanding dementia.

“You should be able to see when a person is receiving person-centred care because the staff know the person so well that the staff have changed around the person – they have not expected the person to change and fit in with them or how they do things.” Michael Spellman

Person-centred care shows itself most effectively when carers and activity coordinators have worked to change and develop themselves around the person they are caring for, rather than the other way around. This means responding to individual personalities, preferences and behaviours, rather than having a one-size-fits-all approach.
People who genuinely practice person-centred care get an enormous amount of satisfaction, pride and joy from doing what they do and the way they do it.

This, of course, becomes harder on a larger scale, and in bigger care homes or hospitals it can be challenging. Person-centred care shouldn’t be formulaic – it is something instinctive and natural rather than a tick-box exercise required by the CQC. Care settings might state, “We do person-centred care.” But person-centred care is something that you are, not something that you do.

“I get very concerned when I see person-centred care being used as a tick-box exercise. It has to be led by your heart, by your real care for a person.” Chris Harding, founder, The Daily Sparkle

Person-centred care works by the fact that you’re motivated to care for a person, and that you want to know about them and what makes them tick. You are interested in their likes and dislikes, their background, their experiences, and you want to serve them in the best way, for them.


  • The tasks in the person’s care plan reflect how and when the person wants/needs support.
  • The approach to completing those tasks works for the person, even if the approach needs to change from one person to the next.
  • The person’s feelings and point of view is validated.
  • The person has activity and occupation in their life which has purpose and authenticity.

“If you see these components, you are very likely to see a happy, safe, and content person living in the middle of that care.” Michael Spellman

The biggest part of achieving person-centred care is about choosing the right people to do that job. Either you want to go to that level of care, or you don’t.

“Person-centred care is as much about the person giving it, as the person receiving it. It’s very intimate, and it’s about moving to a different part of your being and connecting with people in a real and heartful way.” Chris Harding

All of our monthly activities have a person-centred focus to them, from daily life tasks to reminiscence ideas, discussion points and a host of craft activities. Subscriptions start at £59 per month, but are currently on special offer at half price for the first three months. Find out more >>