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Person-Centred Care Primer

What is Person-Centred Care

Person-centred or resident-centred care is a model of care that puts the resident’s needs and preferences at the centre of care. Residents are partners and active participants in their care.  This model of care, sometimes called emotion-focused care or culture change:  

•       Is built on respect, kindness and compassion  

•       Develops supportive relationships between residents, families and staff  

•       Emphasizes quality of life for the residents and promotes staff empowerment  

•       Improves health outcomes for residents  

•       Creates a positive work culture that attracts and retains committed staff who feel their work is valued and respected  

The Pioneer Network states that culture change in long-term care “is about meaningful relationships and service, where caregivers and staff really know the people they care for, so that individuals can continue to live a meaningful life and feel “at home” wherever they are.  Part of feeling at home is creating living spaces that are more private, comfortable, and personalized.”  

Some homes are implementing specific care models such as the Butterfly Approach, Greenhouse Project or Eden Alternative while other homes are adapting the principles of person-centred care to their own environment.  



Source:  Health Standards Organization.  Long-Term Care Services.  January 2023

How can I learn more about person-centred models of care? 

The Pioneer Network is a national not-for-profit organization in the United States that promotes culture change and person-centred care models. There is a wealth of resources on their website:

CARP Ottawa has partnered with Family Councils Ontario to present a series of webinars on emotion-based care models:

The 2019 study by a research team led by Dr. Pat Armstrong for the City of Toronto looked at the pros and cons of different models of care in LTC and concluded that “the evidence indicates that there is no one perfect model” suggesting “a strategy to learn from all the models, adapting promising practices to specific homes and their populations”. The report is available on the City of Toronto website.

Learn that words matter in LTC: Person-Centred Language.


Person-centred care models’ websites: 

Meaningful Care Matters (Butterfly Approach) 

Eden Alternative

Green House Project

On January 31, 2023, the Health Standards Organization released a new long-term care standard that promotes “resident-centred care that values compassion, respect, dignity, trust, and a meaningful quality of life". The standard, available in English and French, can be downloaded for free:


What is happening in the Champlain Region? 

In 2019, the Champlain Dementia Network created a Transformation Working Group to bring together LTC homes in the region and family representatives (Mind the Gap, Champlain Region Family Council Network) to share information and best practices related to implementation of person-centred approaches to care.  The group includes representatives from the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in LTC (Ontario CLRI), Champlain BSO, and Champlain Hospice Palliative Care Network (CHPCP).  The Working Group has now been restructured as a community of practice and continues to meet regularly to support transformation activities and share successes and challenges


Additional Reading 

Picard, Andre.  Neglected No More.  Toronto: Random House, 2021. 

Welsh, Moira.  Happily Ever Older: Revolutionary Approaches to Long-Term Care. Toronto : ECW Press, 2021.

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