Who am I? Identity, person-centred care and dementia
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Who am I? Identity, person-centred care and dementia

Tom Rose Admiral Nurse clinical lead, St Barnabas Hospice, Lincoln, England
Karen Harrison Dening Head of research and publications, Dementia UK, London, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To refresh your knowledge of person-centred care in people with dementia

  • To recognise the importance of a sense of self for people with dementia

  • To understand how holistic assessment is crucial in the care of people with dementia

Identity is a central aspect of our lives. Who we believe ourselves to be has profound implications on how we interact with and interpret the world around us. People with dementia often experience stigma and suboptimal care because of a perception that they have ‘lost their identity’ as the cognitive symptoms associated with the condition progress. This notion is challenged by proponents of person-centred care who argue that a person’s identity and worth are based on more than cognitive abilities. Person-centred care is a holistic approach that takes account of the entirety of a person’s life and provides support that respects the individual and their self-identity. Since identity is vital to well-being, delivery of person-centred care must involve actively seeking a person’s concept of self to tailor their care to meet all their needs. This article considers the importance of identity and personhood for people with dementia and their carers in the context of person-centred care. The article includes two case studies to illustrate these concepts in practice.

Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2023.e1446

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software




Conflict of interest

None declared

Rose T, Harrison Dening K (2023) Who am I? Identity, person-centred care and dementia. Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2023.e1446

Published online: 19 July 2023

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