The use of life story work with people with dementia to enhance person-centred care

Jane McKeown, Amanda Clarke, Christine Ingleton, Tony Ryan, Julie Repper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Citations (Scopus)


Background.  Person-centred care has been linked with quality of care but difficulties remain in person-centred care being implemented in care practice. This study explores the use of life story work to enhance person-centred care with people with dementia. Aims and objectives.  The study investigates how life story work is: understood and developed in practice; experienced by all participants and affects the delivery and outcomes of care. Design and methods.  The experience of older people with dementia, family carers and care staff in using life story work was explored within an NHS Health and Social Care Trust. A multiple case study design was adopted within a constructivist approach. Semi-structured interviews, observation, conversations were employed. Findings.  Life story work has the potential to: enable care staff to see the person behind the patient; allow family carers to uphold their relatives’ personhood; enable the voice of the person with dementia to be heard, verbally and non-verbally; be enjoyable for all concerned and enable the person with dementia to feel proud about themselves and their lives. Conclusion and implications for practice.  Life story work has the potential to enhance person-centred care for older people with dementia and their families. Taking a practice development approach ensures that life story work can be implemented sensitively and is sustained in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-158
JournalInternational journal of older people nursing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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