Aims and objectives. To demonstrate the usefulness of a theoretical framework for humanising care of dementia patients.
Background. The term humanisation of care has been increasingly used to describe an approach to health care that is informed by core dimensions of what it means to be human. Recent developments in dementia care highlight the importance of maintaining personhood in people with dementia.
Design. A conceptual framework is proposed by which the humanisation of care can be understood and applied. Eight dimensions that articulate core features of what needs to be attended to in order for a person to feel more deeply ‘met’ as a human being are discussed. Evidence from an evaluative study of a dementia outreach service is used to illustrate the usefulness of the humanising framework.
Methods. Case study examples demonstrate the value of this framework by describing how a dementia outreach service enables care staff in residential aged care facilities to change their focus in the provision of care to residents with dementia. Each of the eight dimensions of humanisation/dehumanisation is used to illustrate how the dementia outreach service team have led to the improvements in resident care.
Results. Positive outcomes can be achieved by providing humanised care to residents with dementia.
Conclusion. The paper highlights the potential for the humanising framework to be used in dementia care and shows how the framework can be helpfully translated into practice so that carers are supported to adopt an inclusive view of care delivery.
Relevance to clinical practice. A comprehensive framework, grounded in a strong philosophical foundation, can name a breadth of criteria for humanly sensitive care and can be translated into practice in such a way as to potentially transform the provision of care to residents in residential aged care facilities.