Service efficiency
Jul 11, 2024

What are the 4 principles of person-centred care?

Anna Lawrence discusses the four principles of person-centred care and the vital importance they are in delivering quality social care for individuals.

The 4 principles of person-centred care originate from a guide the Health Foundation published in 2014. They have been designed to deliver high-quality care whilst providing the best possible quality of life for those in health and social care settings.

In this article, we will take a deeper look into person-centred care as a whole, including the 4 principles, and how care management software can help care homes achieve this.

What is person centred care?

Although there is no single agreed definition of person-centred care, it refers to a person’s preferences, needs, values and lifestyles guiding their clinical decisions.

The individual is an equal partner in planning, developing and monitoring their own care, which results in a respectful and responsive way of meeting their requirements. Taking it further than sharing decisions with individuals about their care, you work together to develop a personalised solution. Person centred care is holistic and avoids paternalism as it takes the whole person into account, not just their condition or symptoms.

There is no single pathway toward person-centred care because it varies from person to person and an individual’s preferences or needs may change over time. Ultimately, it is an evolving area which solely depends on the requirements and circumstances of the person receiving care.

Examples of person-centred care

You can find examples of person-centred care in government policies across the UK. Examples of this include:

In more granular detail, examples of person-centred care within a health and social care environment can look different depending on the person’s overall capacity and condition. As a general rule of thumb, however, it’s important to practise all 4 principles to some extent. Some examples include but are not limited to:

  • Making decisions with the individual, engaging in those conversations together, ensuring the information to make these decisions is easily accessible and reaching a result you both agree on, rather than deciding this separately.
  • Giving people the tools to perform everyday tasks unaided, the choice of what to have for their daily meals, and adjusting their morning and night times to when it best suits them.
  • Making sure individuals are both physically and emotionally comfortable and safe, involving friends and family where necessary and making sure communication is always clear between all parties.

Why is person-centred care important?

When it comes to the importance of person-centred care, there are significant benefits to both the individuals and the workforce.

For individuals, taking an active role in their health care can improve their overall  experience including care quality and clinical results. A person-centred approach is important for service users because:

  • They have had input on their treatment plans meaning they are more incentivised to make better lifestyle choices including sticking to their plans and taking their medicines correctly, resulting in improved health outcomes.
  • They have had input on other clinical decisions meaning they will choose treatments based on their preferences and are more likely to choose less invasive, costly treatments resulting in higher satisfaction with their care.
  • They have access to more knowledge regarding their individual care, meaning they are more confident in managing it, less anxious, and more likely to engage in positive health behaviours resulting in better clinical results.
  • They have taken responsibility for making their own decisions meaning they are more empowered and independent which results in giving them more confidence to live independently, feel happier, less reliant on health services and more fulfilled in their life.

A person-centred approach is important for the workforce because:

  • The collaboration between  care providers and  service users means their service can effectively respond to the needs of the growing number of people living with long-term conditions.
  • Tailoring treatment plans to the needs and preference of the people receiving them rather than on the convenience of providers results in better value for money.
  • The increase in engagement of positive health behaviours for individuals also results in improved staff performance, a positive work environment and overall morale to deliver effective care.

How many values are there that support person-centred care?

As mentioned above, there are 4 principles of person-centred care outlined by the Health Foundation which are:

  1. Affording people dignity, compassion & respect
  2. Offering coordinated care, support or treatment
  3. Offering personalised care, support or treatment
  4. Supporting people to recognise & develop their own strengths & abilities to enable them to live an independent & fulfilling life

1. Affording people dignity, compassion & respect

One of the main foundations of person-centred care is building a relationship between care professionals and service users . To do so, you must treat them with dignity, compassion and respect. You must work together to understand what is important to the individual, identify their goals and encourage them to be independent when making decisions about their care. By respecting their individual choices, you will empower them to feel more in control and create better outcomes.

2. Offering coordinated care, support or treatment

Communication is key within person-centred care and coordinated care is vital in maintaining accurate care plans and medical records. Without coordinated care across all aspects of healthcare, like support services and care workers, communication can break down and care can become disjointed. In order to fully understand individuals’ personal preferences and needs, all carers must communicate clearly to each other.

Person-centred software can help maintain coordination to the highest standards as all necessary information is shared across the care teams. Using technology can ensure records are legible, accessible and always up to date, fostering transparency within the organisation. Streamlining operations by automating tasks and workflows means changes can be made a lot easier which increases personalisation and more time can be dedicated by staff to provide quality care.

3. Offering personalised care, support or treatment

A one-size-fits-all approach is not effective for person-centred care as what works for one individual, may not work for another. So much so, that a blanket approach may have a significant impact on recovery and empowerment. By personalising care to each service user , you are able to fulfil their needs effectively and enable them to manage their condition correctly whilst retaining their freedom.

4. Supporting people to recognise & develop their own strengths & abilities to enable them to live an independent & fulfilling life

Following on from above, it’s essential that individuals are involved in decision making and it’s the care provider's responsibility to empower them and allow them to feel more in control. In turn, this enables service users  to become less dependent on health care providers, and care professionals to dedicate more time to providing enhanced care.

Overall, it’s important that it is a partnership between healthcare professionals and service users , rather than one being seen as the expert and in control and the other following instructions. Regardless of the specific care an individual receives, it should always be performed with these principles in mind.

What are the 8 core values of person-centred care?

Slightly separate from the 4 principles of person-centred care, these core values also play a significant part and should be encouraged with every service user:

  1. Individuality
  2. Choice
  3. Independence
  4. Dignity
  5. Respect
  6. Rights
  7. Privacy
  8. Partnership

How to implement person-centred care into your practice

Person-centred practice is an ongoing process that should cover every aspect of the healthcare service and be regularly reviewed to continuously improve.

To start, you must gather information from the person to identify their needs, feelings and goals. From there, you must explore various options whilst assessing risks and benefits together with the service user to then agree upon their care plan, what will be provided and how. During the delivery of care and support in-line with the individual’s wishes, you must ensure a person-centred approach is always implemented. Remember to keep active listening, monitoring and reviewing by requesting feedback from the service user and gathering more information to begin the cycle again.

To help with implementing person-centred care into your practice and promoting care coordination, person-centred software is a helpful tool to address any challenges and maintain excellence in care provision. Log my Care’s care management software empowers staff, streamlines operations, and enhances overall service quality.

As an NHS Transformation Directorate Assured Supplier and a Quality Partner of the Professional Record Standards Body, we have years of experience working alongside care providers. We understand the obstacles care teams face every day and the impact it can have on the quality of care provided. We have designed our care management software with these challenges at the core, and are developing more features in response to what care organisations really need to deliver person-centred care. This makes it simpler for care providers to ensure that the 4 principles of person-centred care are always implemented and maintained.

Book your 1-1 demo with our team to learn more about how the right care management tool can empower your staff, streamline your operations and implement true person-centred care in your organisation.

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