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The person-centred approach to an ageing society

Inger Ekman, Nicky Britten, Jens Bordin, Cristiano Codagnone, Staffan Eden, Daniel Forslund, Pam Fredman, Lars Grip, Hakan Hedman, Ted Hesselbom, Iris Hard, Olle Larko, Irma Lindstrom, Lisa Lindstrom, Astrid Norberg, Anders Olauson, Henrik Rosen, Akbar Seddigh, Alan Tennant, Christoph Westerteicher, Bjorn Alsnas, Karl Swedberg


Modern care is often based on investigations such as laboratory markers and imaging - for example, x-ray or ultrasound. The results contribute to a diagnosis and, if judged necessary, treatment is initiated. This diseased-oriented approach is the prevailing mode of management in modern medicine. In contrast, person-centered care (PCC) takes the point of departure from each person´s subjective experience of illness and its impact on daily life. A patient is considered as a person with emotions and feelings. PCC is considered present within clinical care according to a definition articulated by the Centre for Person Centred Care at the University of Gothenburg (GPCC) when three core components are present: elicitation of a detailed patient narrative; formulated partnership between caregiver and patient and documentation of the partnership in the patient record. Accordingly, when there is an illness requiring care and the person is attended using these components, PCC is being applied. In most situations today, PCC is not applied as the narrative is not fully elicited or the partnership and/or the documentation are not included. It is proposed that the challenge to Society arising from changing demographics can be addressed by implementing PCC and creating an alternative to existing healthcare. The importance and benefits of such an approach on a wider scale is not yet clear as research has been limited to date. Studies in selected patient populations (heart failure and hip fractures), however, have shown promising results. As the population ages, there will be a dramatic increase in healthcare consumption. Even with technological developments, there will be a need for tremendous resources to be dedicated to care. A new organization and attitude from healthcare policymakers and providers above and beyond the present model appears required in order to respond to this demand. As part of such change, person-centred care, with the interaction between healthcare providers and the person of the patient, can facilitate, compensate and develop more effective healthcare services for the future.

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