Practical guide: Person-Centred Care

Summary of this part.

3.3. Concepts of person-centred care

Mario has his daily routines, which give him security and well-being. In the mornings he likes to go to the vegetable garden. After breakfast he used to work in it for a while and then go home and take a shower.

Anna has little time in the mornings, because she has to go to work. She likes to get things organised before she leaves, so she tells Mario to get up, take a shower and then have breakfast, which Mario doesn't see the logic of and gets angry.

What happens if...

  • Anna forces Mario to take a shower after breakfast without taking Mario's preference into account?
  • Ana tries to organise herself in such a way that Mario can take a shower after working in the garden?

If Ana does not take Mario's preference and logic into account, this can lead to what we call "behavioural disorders".

Reflections What are we talking about?

Autonomy: the ability to control, cope and make personal decisions on one's own initiative about how to live according to one's own rules and preferences, and to carry out basic activities of daily living.

Identity: the sense and awareness of oneself as an entity distinct from others and continuous over time. It is the set of characteristics that can distinguish a person from others.

Ponder on the next questions:

  • What decisions does Mario make about his own way of life, his activities, his day-to-day life?
  • How can you be supported to take control of your life?
  • What is Mario's identity and how is he different from other people his age?
  • What do you see as your role as a caregiver?
  • What do you need in order to support Mario's preference?

Why is it important to work on autonomy?

Putting it into practice

How can you support Mario's autonomy and what are the distinctive features of his identity?

  • Make a chart involving all family members and especially Mario. Identify what he likes and wants to do, his habits and routines.
  • Identify times and situations where support is needed (not only for Mario).
  • Think about what resources you need to support Mario's autonomy. For example:
    • See if anyone in the family can be present when Mario showers.
    • See the possibility of making Ana's working hours more flexible, work-family reconciliation
    • Some Home Care Service hours
    • Volunteers, neighbours, associations that can accompany Mario in the care of the vegetable garden and the shower afterwards.
  • Identify possible risks and how to minimise them by structuring the environment in a protected and barrier-free way, involving and consulting Mario in decisions.
  • Talk to Mario calmly and without losing patience, explaining the situation to him in order to support him in making decisions. This gives him more opportunities to take control of his life, avoiding "behavioural disorders", in short, supporting his autonomy.