This article presents findings from a study about compassionate care-the development of person knowledge in a medical ward caring for older people. Appreciative inquiry, an approach to research that focuses on discovering what works well and implementing strategies to help these aspects happen most of the time, was used. Staff, patients, and families participated in this study, which used a range of methods to generate data including interviews and observations. Immersion/crystallization was used to analyze these data using a reflexive and continuous approach to extracting and validating data. Findings uncovered that knowledge of the person and ways of promoting this were key dimensions of compassionate caring. The attributes of "caring conversations" emerged through the analysis process, which we suggest are crucial to developing person knowledge. The political and public focus on compassionate care makes it opportune to raise discussion around this form of knowledge in academic and practice debates.
Keywords: care for older people; caring conversations; compassionate care; knowing the person; relationships.