What is Person-Centred Care? - DementiaHub.SG

What is Person-Centred Care?

Person-centred dementia care aims to enhance the wellbeing of persons living with dementia by meeting their psychological needs, which maintains personhood.

What is PCC?

Person-centred care (PCC) is a way of thinking about a person living with dementia and how to support them to enhance their quality of life.

When caring for a person living with dementia, it is sometimes difficult to understand why a person behaves in the way they do, or make decisions related to the activities they should engage in.

PCC focuses on:

  • Seeing each person living with dementia as a person who
    • Is valuable
    • Has their unique history, routines, personal preferences, and needs
    • Experiences the world in their own way
    • Sees the social relationships that the person has as important for their wellbeing
  • Improving and taking care of the person’s level of wellbeing by taking care of these things.

This is different from the medical model of care, which:

  • Sees the person living with dementia as only a medical patient who requires treatment from healthcare professionals;
  • Focuses on keeping the person clean and safe from injury and harm;
  • Does not consider the person’s unique history, routines, personal preferences; 
  • Ignores the psychological needs of the person.

What is the goal of PCC?

To maintain personhood in the face of a person’s declining mental powers.

How is this goal achieved?

By meeting the 5 areas of psychological need that each person experiences.

Tom Kitwood’s Flower of Psychological Needs shows the needs that each person, including persons living with dementia, has. These needs are: Comfort, Attachment, Inclusion, Occupation, Identity, and Love.

While caring for persons living with dementia, we can aim to meet these needs.

What happens as these needs are met?

  • The person feels loved.
  • The person’s entire sense of self-worth will be enhanced.
  • The person will be more likely to experience a sense of personal control and empowerment.
  • There will be an improvement in the physical and psychological wellbeing of the person.

10 Key Principles of PCC according to Tom Kitwood

  1. A non-judgemental acceptance of the uniqueness of each person.
  2. Respect for the past experiences and learning of each person.
  3. Recognising the whole person as having emotional, social, physical and spiritual needs.
  4. Staying in communication requires flexibility, lateral thinking, and acceptance of other viewpoints.
  5. Nourishing attachments means ensuring people feel welcome and included.
  6. Creating a feeling of community gives us a sense of belonging, of where we fit in and what is expected of us.
  7. Maximising freedom for people to contribute to their care and eliminating unnecessary controls.
  8. Allowing ourselves to receive from others and valuing what they give (in other words, allowing the person with dementia to contribute in some way to the care environment, as far as they are able).
  9. Building and maintaining an environment of trust – protect from bullying, exploitation and other abuses of power.
  10. Focusing on positives – on people’s abilities and what they can do.

Person-Centred Care in Dementia by Alzheimer’s WA

Read on to find out how to apply the person-centred care approach in everyday life with persons living with dementia.


1. Kitwood, T. M. (1997). Dementia Reconsidered: The Person Comes First. Open University Press.

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