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The person-centred approach to an ageing society

Journal article
Authors Inger Ekman
Nicky Britten
Jens Bördin
Christiano Codagnone
Staffan Edén
Daniel Forslund
Pam Fredman
Lars Grip
Håkan Hedman
Ted Hesselbom
Iris van Dijk Härd
Olle Larkö
Irma Lindström
Lisa Lindström
Astrid Norberg
Anders Olauson
Henrik Rosén
Akbar Seddig
Alan Lennant
Christoph Westerteichert
Björn Ålsnäs
Karl Swedberg
Published in European Journal for Person Centered Healthcare
Volume 1
Issue 1
Pages 132-137
ISSN 2052-5656
Publication year 2013
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Dermatology and Venereology
University of Gothenburg Centre for person-centred care (GPCC)
Institute of Health and Care Sciences
Vice-Chancellor's Office
Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Pages 132-137
Language en
Keywords person-centred care
Subject categories Other Medical Sciences


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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