As a carer, ‘person-centred care’, is a phrase you’ll hear a lot. It sounds obvious enough, – of course you want to focus your care around your client. In fact, ‘person-centred care’ is a phrase that is used in legislation, and there are some very strict guidelines about what can be considered ‘person-centred care’.

It’s about making the service user an equal participant, involving them in decisions, and making sure their voice is heard. This doesn’t mean people get to dictate the care they receive – but it does mean they have a strong say.

The CQC assesses every care setting on whether it provides person-centred care. Having a team that fully understands what the term means could be crucial to obtaining that ‘Outstanding’ rating.

The term comes from the Health and Social Care Act 2008, which followed the Mental Capacity Act 2005, which we’ve written about here, The 2008 Act says care must be appropriate, must meet the service user’s needs, and reflect their preferences. Helpfully, the Act describes exactly how the benchmark of ‘person-centred care’ can be achieved.

What is person-centred care?

  • Before care can be carried out, you need to assess what the service user needs and what their preferences are. Importantly, this must be a collaborative process meaning, where possible, the service user should be involved in deciding what their needs and preferences are.
  • People should be able to understand their care, so that they can make informed decisions. While the reasons behind different treatments might be complicated, a competent professional should explain the situation in simple terms, so clients can understand the balance of risks.
  • Where possible, carers should enable and support relevant people to make care decisions. Where possible, that person is the service user. Otherwise, it’s a close family member. Only if this list of relevant people has been exhausted should a carer make a non-urgent care choice.
  • Finally, care must be appropriate, and carers must make reasonable adjustments to make sure service users get the care they need.

This is just a short introduction to what makes up person-centred care. To get a more in-depth understanding of your responsibilities as a carer, take a look at our course, ‘Person-centred care’.