From person-centered to relational care: expanding the focus in residential care facilities

J Gerontol Soc Work. 2012;55(3):233-48. doi: 10.1080/01634372.2011.639438.


Long-term residential care facilities for older adults currently espouse a philosophy of person-centered care (PCC). However, these facilities operate according to a medical model with highly structured administration and regulation. As a result, there is tension between the priorities of the resident and the organization. A qualitative study conducted with 4 social workers and 1 physician employed in residential care facilities demonstrates not only the structural barriers to PCC, but also the importance of meaningful relationships to residents' socio-emotional well-being. The final section explores how organizational barriers might be mitigated through the complementary use of relational care.

MeSH terms

  • British Columbia
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration
  • Homes for the Aged / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Organizational Culture
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Professional Role
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Work*