2.3.2 Defining Personhood and Client-Centered Care

What does it mean to be a person? This is a fundamental question. Think for a moment about who you are and what you are—the parts of your personality that make you who you are. When we discuss personhood, we are referring to the state or condition of being a person, especially having those qualities that confer distinct individuality.

Now, watch “Personhood: Crash Course Philosophy #21.” As you watch, think about why personhood is such a fundamental concept in health care.

Click here for video transcript: Video Transcript.

If you accept the concept of personhood as valid, then you must offer patient-centered care to your clients. Client-centered care, which is sometimes called patient-centered care, means providing care in an environment that promotes the client’s ability to exercise their independence and choices during care. The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (2006) identifies the following core values and beliefs that must be infused in every aspect of client care:

  • respect;
  • human dignity;
  • the belief that clients are experts for their own lives;
  • the perception of clients as leaders;
  • clients’ goals coordinate care of the health care team;
  • continuity and consistency of care and caregiver;
  • timeliness;
  • responsiveness; and
  • universal access to care. (RNAO, 2006, p 8)

Key Takeaway

This brief article titled: “What is patient-centered Care” by NEJM Catalyst offers a definition of patient–centered care as well as examples in the health care model.



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