Person – centred care seeks to view the person with dementia as a whole, and considers how the person is influenced by factors beyond the physical changes in the brain. The person centred approach to dementia care focuses on the needs of the service user rather than on the priorities of the service provider. Instead of trying to change people’s behaviour for the benefit of the care setting, a person-centred approach seeks to resolve any difficulties in the interest of the person.
The person – centred approach to care focuses on the individual’s abilities rather than the loss of their abilities. The needs and the emotions of each person are the focal point around which everything else is geared. The person – centred approach seeks to value every person as a unique individual, taking into account their past experiences, their abilities, knowledge, preferences, desires, fears and personality. In other words, the person – centred approach seeks to value the unique personhood of every individual.
The person – centred carer will recognise that some individuals may not be fully able to look after their own well-being, but will seek to provide a positive response that enables the individual to be involved in their care wherever possible by compensating for their losses and building on their strengths and abilities. Finding out about and valuing each person’s talents not skills, and understanding their hopes and fears and what works or does not work for them, will help the carer to provide support and care that is personal to every individual.
This approach also acknowledges what some people may term challenging behaviours as a means of communication. Some people may not be able to express what their needs are or how satisfied they are with the way their needs are being met. Care staff must strive in their attempts to understand the meaning behind the behaviour so as to engage with the individual’s expression of satisfaction or dissatisfaction in how their needs are being met.