About Person Centred Care (PCC):

According to person-centred care, patients are persons who are more than their illness. Person-centred care emanates from the patient’s experience of his/her situation, as well as his/her individual conditions, resources and restraints. Thus, patients become a partner in health care.
Person-centred care is a partnership between patients/relatives and health care professional. The starting point is to listen to the patient’s narrative, that along with other examinations, forms the basis for a health plan.

Person-centred care is based on relationship ethics and the equal value of all human beings. It highlight the importance of respectfully LISTENING to the patient, as well as planning and following up care and treatments TOGETHER.

Why Person-centred care?

We are facing a scenario of ever increasing health care costs. This is partly due to the fact that people live longer, albeit often with one or more long-term illnesses as a result. Health care today very effectively treats a multitude of solitary diseases, but lacks the over-all picture of the patient and his/her perspective, experiences, knowledge and participation. With person-centred care society’s resources can be used more effectively, as research has shown that it can reduce hospital stay, make patients feel less uncertain and reduce complications.

What is person-centred care?

Person-centredness is an ethical standpoint that guides our practical actions as fellow human beings and professionals. Person-centred care entails a partnership between patient, their relatives, and professionals, in health and elderly care and rehabilitation. Based on carefully and perceptively listening to the narrative of the patient (often combined with the narratives of their relatives) and other examinations, a health plan is co-created, containing goals and strategies for implementation, along with short and long-term follow-up.
Many professionals in health care claim that they already work in a person-centred manner. However, to work according to this ethical standpoint, consistently and continuously in all situations and every day, is hard. It requires an astute awareness of every independent action, good routines and working procedures, and that the wider organization is adapted for this. It requires a conscious and dedicated effort and learning, and spans far beyond a foundational value statement.

The patient is a fellow human being with abilities and needs. The qualities and abilities characterising a person can be given attention to or neglected, enhanced or diminished by others. Mutual trust between patient and health care professional is a prerequisite, as well as an astute awareness surrounding the asymmetry in the relationship. Professional knowledge amounts to more authority and therefore more responsibility, and this must be balanced with the patient’s right to autonomy and integrity.


Patient or person?

When we talk about person-centred care, there is no conflict with the word patient. We are all patients at different times in our lives, many of us often. Nevertheless, even in these situations, we are first and foremost a person and fellow human being. At times, we want to assume a traditional patient role, and wish to focus on our illness, treatment, care, rehabilitation, and so on, but not even then do we stop being persons. At other times, our roles as parents or professionals dominate, and then our patient role gets toned down and may not be present in the picture at all. Conversely, one is always a person with abilities (and needs), aware that one is a human being and wanting to take responsibility for one’s own life. This is why we use the term person-centred care.

Three key concepts: partnership, narrative/story and documentation

1. Partnership. The most central aspect of person-centred care is the partnership. It involves mutual respect for each other’s knowledge and expertise; on the one hand the patient and relatives’ expertise of living with the condition, and on the other, the health care professional’s expertise of care, treatment, and rehabilitation of the condition – a more general knowledge.

2. Patient narrative. To listen to the narrative of the patient describing their condition, combined with any results from medical examinations and tests, is a prerequisite for person-centred care. Treatment, rehabilitation, or care is planned in partnership with health care professionals, and an agreement is documented in the form of a written health plan, containing goals and strategies for short and long-term follow-up. Relatives often jointly take part in this process.

3.Documentation. The third component of person-centred care is the documentation of the patient narrative and health plan in the patient journal. This needs to be a living document, meaning that it must be revised on a regular basis, accessible to the patient at all times, and must follow the patient’s route through the care chain

Resources for PCC

  • University of Gothenburg has long researched and used PCC. Check out their site. Also check out GPCC’s brochure about PCC.