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What is Person-Centred Care?

3 Mar 2017


Person-centred care is a philosophical approach to service development and service delivery that sees services provided in a way that is respectful of, and responsive to, the preferences, needs and values of people and those who care for them.

There are numerous models and guiding theories of person-centred care described in published and unpublished literature around the world. Some models have been developed to meet the needs of specific care environments, including the residential care setting and hospital environment. Others have been developed to describe person-centred care provided by different professional groups, for example, nursing and allied health.

Valuing People supports the standpoint that the many different theories of person-centredness are all, in essence, based around the same principles.

Key principles of person-centredness

The key principles of person-centred care are:

  • Valuing people
    Treating people with dignity and respect by being aware of and supporting personal perspectives, values, beliefs and preferences. Listening to each other and working in partnership to design and deliver services.
  • Autonomy
    The provision of choice and subsequent respect for choices made. Balancing rights, risks and responsibilities. Optimising a person’s control through the sharing of power and decision-making. Maximising independence by building on individual strengths, interest and abilities
  • Life experience
    Supporting the sense of self by understanding the importance of a person’s past, their present-day experience, and their hopes for the future.
  • Understanding relationships
    Collaborative relationships between the service provider and service user and their carers and between staffing levels. Social connectedness through the local community through opportunities to engage in meaningful activities.
  • Environment
    Organisational values underpinned by person-centred principles. Responsive support that is responsive to individual needs. A planned, organisation-wide effort to individual and organisational learning.

The Valuing People assessment process will help you to identify areas in need of improvement and help you find ways of addressing them.


A person-centred approach helps organisations provide accessible, responsive and flexible services that meet the diverse needs and preferences of people living in our community. Many of these individuals want to remain independent for as long as possible and rely on the community care system to help them achieve this.

Australia is experiencing a demographic shift with a rapid increase in the number of older Australians. The population aged 65 years and over is projected to increase from 3.2 million at 30 June 2012 to between 5.7 million and 5.8 million in 2031.

The increasing number of older Australians and those who have a chronic illness such as dementia will have a major impact on both the health and comunity care systems.

The community care system is an important and growing element of aged care services in Australia that makes a tangible difference to the quality of life for many older people. Community expectations of support in the home are changing and require services to be accessible, responsive and flexible to meet diverse needs and preferences.

Person-centred approaches to support will help you to achieve this and more. They make a significant difference not only to the people you support and your staff but also to how your organisation operates and prospers.

What are the benefits of person-centred care?

Person-centred approaches:

  • Allow consumers and their carers to have greater control over their own lives by allowing them to make choices about the types of care and services they access and how and when they are delivered
  • Support staff to value and seek to know the people they care for, to understand their experience and to support them to retain as much independence and dignity as possible
  • Result in happier staff who want to stay in your organisation
  • Mean that organisations are well placed to provide culturally appropriate responses
  • Enhance an organisation’s reputation and standing
  • Provide the foundation for delivering Consumer Directed Care.


This information is courtesy of For further information please visit their website.

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