Becoming part of an upwards spiral: Meanings of being person-centred in nursing homes

Int J Older People Nurs. 2022 Mar;17(2):e12420. doi: 10.1111/opn.12420. Epub 2021 Aug 22.


Introduction: Previous research suggests that person-centred care is positive for people living in nursing homes, but less is known on what motivates people working in nursing homes to be person-centred. Previous research has focused on person-centred care in relation to people in need of care, which may lead to a risk of viewing person-centred care as a means to achieve quality of care, and not as a means in itself. Therefore, this study aimed to illuminate meanings of being person-centred as narrated by people working in nursing homes.

Methods: A total of 23 persons working in a nursing home in rural Australia participated in group and individual interviews, conducted and interpreted in respect to a phenomenological hermeneutic approach.

Results: The thematic structure as emerging from structural analyses of the text indicated that being person-centred involved a joint effort to think differently on what you do and why you do it interpreted as; Doing what you know and feel is the right thing to do, Being a person with and for another person, and Striving to do and be better together. The comprehensive understanding of these findings was that being person-centred means becoming part of an upwards spiral of doing person-centred actions and being person-centred to become even more person-centred and to feel a sense of belonging to a person-centred culture.

Conclusions: Denoting the importance of being more of a person in one's professional role, this study highlights health aspects of being person-centred from the perspective of people working in nursing homes, and complements previous research that describes the impact of person-centred care on people in need of care. The findings could be applied to facilitate person-centred care in nursing home contexts, and to develop prevention strategies to diminish negative impacts on person-centred doing, being, becoming and belonging.

Keywords: health; long-term care; occupation; person-centred care; qualitative research.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Hermeneutics
  • Humans
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Patient-Centered Care* / methods
  • Self Care