Person-centred care as supportive care
One of the most influential ideas in the field of dementia has been Tom Kitwood's notion of person-centred care. This approach has been credited with opening therapeutic potential in dementia care in contrast to the therapeutic nihilism characteristic of the traditional biomedical paradigm of dementia at the time of his writing. Kitwood described person-centred care as the ‘new culture’ of dementia care. A similar renaissance was championed by Saunders in the care of people who were dying. While the person who is dying may no longer be responsive to medical intervention, Saunders argued, there was much that could be done to improve quality of life by ensuring physical comfort and attending to the psychosocial and spiritual aspects of living with terminal illness. These two approaches, person-centred care and palliative care, can be readily compared; and there are also benefits to be derived from bringing the approaches together. This chapter explores how the notion of supportive care might encompass the ideals of person-centred and palliative care.
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