Understanding Each Person with Dementia's Individual Needs

Understanding Each Person with Dementia's Individual Needs

A useful strategy to support person-centred care is the ‘TOP 5’

When persons with dementia are unable to communicate their needs, family and carers are the best source of information to help you understand their history, values and personal needs.

The Top 5 approach combines a structured method for gathering information on a person’s preferences from the family carer with a method for communicating this information to other staff involved in their care. 


Talk to the family carer

Identify signs that may indicate
an unmet need

Develop strategies that can be
used to settle and comfort

Communicate to care team via a
highly visible chart


Developed by the NSW Central Coast Local Health District, Top 5 has been trialled by the Clinical Excellence Commission for use in acute hospitals and can be effectively adapted for use in residential aged care facilities and community care to increase understanding of individuals' needs and enhance staff communication. Follow the link for further information on the Top 5 Initiative.

Last updated 25 September 2015