Background: Person-centred care has been linked with quality of care but difficulties remain in person-centred care being implemented in care practice. This study explores the use of life story work to enhance person-centred care with people with dementia.
Aims and objectives: The study investigates how life story work is: understood and developed in practice; experienced by all participants and affects the delivery and outcomes of care.
Design and methods: The experience of older people with dementia, family carers and care staff in using life story work was explored within an NHS Health and Social Care Trust. A multiple case study design was adopted within a constructivist approach. Semi-structured interviews, observation, conversations were employed.
Findings: Life story work has the potential to: enable care staff to see the person behind the patient; allow family carers to uphold their relatives' personhood; enable the voice of the person with dementia to be heard, verbally and non-verbally; be enjoyable for all concerned and enable the person with dementia to feel proud about themselves and their lives.
Conclusion and implications for practice: Life story work has the potential to enhance person-centred care for older people with dementia and their families. Taking a practice development approach ensures that life story work can be implemented sensitively and is sustained in practice.
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.