Interrogating Person-centred Dementia Care in Social Work and Social Care Practice

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Authors: Parker, J.

Journal: Journal of Social Work

Volume: 1

Issue: 3

Pages: 329-345

ISSN: 1468-0173

DOI: 10.1177/146801730100100306

Traditional approaches to the understanding and organization of dementia care, often drawn from medical perspectives, are examined. Alternative understandings based around the conception of ‘personhood’ are critically considered. Some of the philosophical challenges and practical difficulties raised by this debate are explored in the context of care management in the UK. • Findings: The concept of personhood presents a challenge to traditional thought and has been influential in promoting the ‘new culture’ of dementia care within health and social service settings. It is crucial in contemporary social and health care to retain a clear sense of the person with whom we are working at any point in time. Medical, sociological and psychological approaches to dementia should not be seen as mutually exclusive. • Applications: A shift in culture and thinking does not deny the importance of medical advance but adds a holistic and human element that brings back the person with dementia to centre stage. While the diseases underlying the personal and mental deterioration are important, it is equally important to consider how the disease and its characteristics are interpreted by the person with dementia, their carers, professionals and wider society. © 2001, Sage Publications. All rights reserved.

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