Waters, R., & Buchanan, A. (2017). An exploration of person-centered concepts in human services: A thematic analysis of the literature. Health Policy, 121(10), 1031-1039. 

Year: 2017


Being ‘person-centered’ in the delivery of health and human services has become synonymous with quality care, and it is a core feature of policy reform in Australia and other Western countries. This research aimed to identify the uses, definitions and characteristics of the term ‘person-centered’ in the aging, mental health and disability literature. A thematic analysis identified seven common core themes of person-centeredness: honoring the person, being in relationship, facilitating participation and engagement, social inclusion/citizenship, experiencing compassionate love, being strengths/capacity focussed, and organizational characteristics. These suggest a set of higher-order experiences for people that are translated differently in different human services. There is no common definition of what it means to be person-centered, despite being a core feature of contemporary health and human service policy, and this suggests that its inclusion facilitates further misunderstanding and misinterpretation. A common understanding and policy conceptualization of person-centeredness is likely to support quality outcomes in service delivery especially where organizations work across human service groups. Further research into the application and service expressions of being ‘person-centered’ in context is necessary.

View document

Tags: ,