State Government Victoria Australia Department of Health header
Victorian Government Health Information header
spacer
Health Home
Main A to Z Index | Site Map | About Health | Links
Best care for older people everywhere - The toolkit Person-centred practice
Person-centred practice Person-centred practice

Five facts everyone should know about person-centred practice

  1. This is a cornerstone domain that underpins all other domains within The toolkit.
  2. Person-centred care is a philosophical approach to service delivery and service development, ensuring that service systems are developed in partnership with older people and/or their carers.
  3. Person-centred care can be developed and evidenced in day-to-day practice that ensures that individual older people and their carer(s) are involved in decision making regarding their care.
  4. Person-centered practice can be developed on an organisational scale, for example having an person-centred practice organisational policy; at a work unit level, for example ensuring all patients have a care plan developed that incorporates patient goals and at an individual staff member level , for example therapy times are arranged around the patient's preferred showering time.
  5. With consistent and persistent change to practice to incorporate person-centred care it is foreseen that overtime this will become a part of organisational and work group culture.

What is person-centred practice?

Person-centred practice is treatment and care provided by health services that places the person at the centre of their own care and considers the needs of the older person's carers [1]. It is also known as:

  • person-centred care
  • patient-centred care
  • client-centred care.

Person-centred practice is treating patients as they want to be treated.

Why is person-centred practice important?

It makes sense that:

  • When you get to know the patient well, you can provide care that is more specific to their needs and therefore provide better care.
  • By promoting and facilitating greater patient responsibility, patients are more likely to engage in treatment decisions, feel supported to make behavioural changes and feel empowered to self manage.

A recent literature review found that person-centred practice can make a positive difference to health outcomes and patient satisfaction and can improve health care workers' sense of professional worth [2].

Philosophy of care

Person-centred care underpins the information presented in The toolkit. The National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission recommended 'people and family centred care' as the first principle for guiding the delivery of health care [3].

It describes this as health care that is:

  • Responsive to individual differences, cultural diversity and preferences of the people receiving care.
  • Easy to navigate.
  • Provided in the most favourable environment.

We 'are human beings, our patients or clients are human beings, and it is shared humanity that should be the basis of the relationship between us' [4].

What are the principles of person-centred practice?

Getting to know the patient as a person

Health care workers need to get to know the person beyond the diagnosis and build relationships with patients and carers.

Sharing of power and responsibility

Respecting preferences and treating patients as partners in setting goals, planning care and making decisions about care, treatment or outcomes.

Accessibility and flexibility

Meeting patients' individual needs by being sensitive to values, preferences and expressed needs. Giving patients choices by providing timely, complete and accurate information they can understand, so they can make choices about their care.

Coordination and integration

Working as a team to minimise duplication and provide each patient with a key contact at the health service. Teamwork allows service providers, and systems working behind the scenes, to maximise patient outcomes and provide positive experiences.

Environments

Physical and organisational or cultural environments are important, enabling staff to be personcentred in the way they work.

Further information

Further reading or referenceFor further reading on the principles of person-centred practice, refer to Person-centred practice: Guide to implementing person-centred practice in your health service.

What can I do to become more person-centred in my practice?

Culture change requires a long-term effort. It starts with analysing individual, team or organisational practices to identify areas requiring development.

For this reason, the recommended tools allow each individual, team and organisation to identify and improve in areas that are uniquely important.

The health care decision-making process can be a positive example of promoting truly person-centred care. For example, person-centred treatment decision making and care planning helps ensure that people:

  • Are able to express their wishes, including consent or refusal of treatment, even in advance, if they want to.
  • Can participate in the decision-making process to the extent they wish to, and are able to include whoever is important to them in this process.
  • Can appoint a substitute decision maker if they wish to.
  • Receive treatment that accords with their values, goals and beliefs.
  • Do not receive unwanted treatment.
  • Have their wishes for future treatment known across the health and broader community sectors.

Refer to the following resources and tools to assist in improving person-centred care in practice.

Further information

Resource or toolPerson-centred practice: Guide to implementing person-centred practice in your health service
Resource or toolAdvancing practice of patients and family centred care: How to get started
Resource or toolPatient and family centred care: A hospital self-assessment inventory
Resource or toolImproving the environment for older people in health services: An audit tool
Resource or toolBenchmarking person-centred care statewide survey
Resource or toolBenchmarking person-centred care statewide survey: Instructions for use
Further reading or referenceNursing best practice guideline: Client centred care
Resource or toolEssence of care: Patient-focused benchmarks for clinical governance
Further reading or referencePatient rehabilitation charter for in-patients
Further reading or referencePatient rehabilitation charter for in-patients: Staff accompaniments
Further reading or referenceHuman rights and responsibilities charter: Protection of freedoms and rights for everyone in Victoria
Resource or toolSharing Package developed by WDHS.
Further reading or referenceRemembering carers in discharge tip sheet.

Refer to the following table for recommendations of resources to assist in improving personcentred care in practice. Recommended resources can be located on the accompanying USB.
Principles of
person-centred
practice
Key elements Top resources
1. Getting to know
 the person
Patient and family
or carer support
Client Centred Care: Nursing Best Practice Guideline
Planetree organisation www.planetree.org
Holistic assessment Essence of Care Patient-focused benchmarks for clinical
governance
2. Sharing power
and responsibility
Goal setting Person-Centred Health Care Good Practice
www.nari.unimelb.edu.au/pchc/pchc_good_practice.htm
Care planning and
decision making
Consumer, Carer and Community Participation Information
www.health.vic.gov.au/consumer/index.htm
Respecting Patient Choices: An Advanced Care Planning Initiative
Ottawa Health and Research Unit
Case conference Person-Centred Health Care Good Practice
www.nari.unimelb.edu.au/pchc/pchc_good_practice.htm
Patients, families
and carers
as advisors
and in quality
improvement
Consumer, Carer and Community Participation Information
www.health.vic.gov.au/consumer/index.htm
Institute for Family-Centered Care
www.ipfcc.org
Developing A New Approach To Koori Hospital Liaison
Services Final Report
Patients rights and
responsibilities
Rehabilitation Charter
3. Service
flexibility and
accessibility
Information and
education for
patients and
families
Consumer, Carer and Community Participation Information
www.health.vic.gov.au/consumer/index.htm
Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities
www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au
Client Centred Care: Nursing Best Practice Guidelines
Language and
different cultures
Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health www.ceh.org.au
The Picker Institute www.pickereurope.org
Resource
availability to
patients and
families
Person-Centred Health Care Good Practice
www.nari.unimelb.edu.au/pchc/pchc_good_practice.htm
Client Centred Care: Nursing Best Practice Guidelines
Planetree organisation www.planetree.org
Triage Person-Centred Health Care Good Practice
 www.nari.unimelb.edu.au/pchc/pchc_good_practice.htm
4. Coordination
 and integration
Charting and
documentation
and minimising
duplication
Client Centred Care: Nursing Best Practice Guidelines
Essence of Care: Patient-focused benchmarks for clinical
governance

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/
attachment_data/file/216691/dh_119978.pdf
Making sense of
services including
key person and
single access point
The Picker Institute www.pickereurope.org
Person-Centred Health Care Good
Practice www.nari.unimelb.edu.au/pchc/pchc_good_practice.htm
Client Centred Care: Nursing Best Practice Guideline
Discharge planning
and post discharge
follow up
Incorporating patient and care concerns
in discharge plans:
Patient centred checklist


Improving Care for Older People
www.health.vic.gov.au/older/
Person-Centred Health Care Good Practice
www.nari.unimelb.edu.au/pchc/pchc_good_practice.htm
5. Environments Leadership, mission
statements,
recruitment, use
of volunteers,
orientation, quality
Planetree organisation www.planetree.org

Consumer, Carer and Community Participation Information
www.health.vic.gov.au/consumer/index.htm

American Hospital Association www.aha.org
Attitudes and
organisation
culture
Enhancing Practice Program
Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities
The physical
environment
Improving the Environment for Older People in Health
Services: An Audit Tool www.health.vic.gov.au/older

Planetree organisation www.planetree.org
Institute for Family Centered Care
www.ipfcc.org
Transport Person-Centred Health Care Good Practice
www.nari.unimelb.edu.au/pchc/pchc_good_practice.htm

How can I measure person-centred practice?

Evaluating the broader picture of person-centred care as a philosophy of care takes additional planning. Generally, evaluation involves repeating the assessment you initially completed to see if the results differ.

Further information

For further information and guidance on evaluating person-centred practice in health services, refer to Person-centred practice: Guide to implementing person-centred practice in your health service.

Patient and carer satisfaction surveys can also be used to help measure person-centred practice in a health service:

Further reading or referenceCOAG LSOP Initiative Assessment Domain Excel Database Instructions
Further reading or referencePatient satisfaction survey
Further reading or referencePatient satisfaction survey: Pre-intervention database
Further reading or referencePatient satisfaction survey: Post-intervention database
Further reading or referenceCarer satisfaction survey
Further reading or referenceCarer satisfaction survey: Pre-intervention database
Further reading or referenceCarer satisfaction survey: Post-intervention database
Further reading or referencePost-discharge patient satisfaction survey
Further reading or referencePost-discharge patient satisfaction survey: Pre-intervention database
Further reading or referencePost-discharge patient satisfaction survey: Post-intervention database
Further reading or referencePost-discharge carer satisfaction survey
Further reading or referencePost-discharge patient satisfaction survey: Pre-intervention database
Further reading or referencePost-discharge patient satisfaction survey: Post-intervention database
Further reading or referenceTell us about your stay.

Further reading

Refer to the following resources to assist improving person-centred care in practice with regard to medical treatment, consent and advance care planning:
Further reading or referenceInformation published by the Office of the Public Advocate, Victoria.
www.publicadvocate.vic.gov.au Phone: (03) 9603 9500 or 1300 309 337
Further reading or referenceCan your adult patient consent?
Further reading or referenceMedical/dental treatment for patients who cannot consent: The person responsible
Further reading or referenceEnduring Power of Attorney: Medical treatment
Further reading or referenceRefusal of medical treatment
Further reading or referenceGuardianship and administration
Further reading or referenceAustralian Resource Centre for Health care Innovations (ARCHI) www.archi.net.au
Further reading or referenceConsent: Patients and doctors making decisions together
Further reading or referenceDarzins, P, Molloy, W, & Strang, D, 2000, Who can decide? The six step capacity
assessment process, Memory Australia Press, South Australia
Further reading or referenceEnd of life treatment and care: Good practice in decision-making
(A draft for consultation)
.

top of page