What is Person-Centred Care

What is Person-Centred Care

Person-centred care aims to maintain and nurture ‘personhood’ in the person with dementia. The idea was developed by social psychologist Tom Kitwood (1) who challenged the notion that dementia leads to a loss of who the person is. 

Person-centred care involves building positive and enriching relationships to improve wellbeing, and enabling the person living with dementia to communicate their wants, needs and desires and retain a sense of identity.

Meeting a person’s needs for love, attachment, comfort, occupation and inclusion will give them a sense of self-worth and can reduce agitated and/or apathetic behaviour.


Providing person centred care - Associate Professor Lynn Chenoweth

Read transcript (132kb pdf)

Using the ‘VIPS’ acronym as a system-wide guide to care

The VIPS acronym (as in ‘very important persons’) is a useful aid to remembering the key principles of person-centred care.
  1. V: Value people with dementia and those who care for them, promoting their citizenship rights and entitlements regardless of age or cognitive ability.
  2. I: Treat people as Individuals, appreciating that all people with dementia have a unique history and personality, physical and mental health, and social and economic resources, and these will affect their response to neurological impairment.
  3. P: Look at the world from the Perspective of the person with dementia, recognising that each person’s experience has its own psychological validity, that people with dementia act from this perspective, and that empathy with this perspective has its own therapeutic potential.
  4. S: Recognise that all human life, including that of people with dementia, is grounded in relationships and that people with dementia require an enriched Social environment which both compensates for their impairment and fosters opportunities for personal growth.


Brooker, Dawn. Person-centred dementia care: making services better. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007.
Kitwood, T. (2007). Dementia reconsidered: The person comes first: Open University Press Buckingham, UK.

Further reading 

Guidelines for Care: Person-centred care of people with dementia living in care homes (526kb pdf)
Models of dementia care: Person-centred, palliative and supportive (493kb pdf)
Care Fit for VIPS toolkit


Last updated 8 December 2015