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Relationship centred outcomes focused on compassionate care for older people within in-patient care settings


  • Stephen Smith RGN, RMN, BSc, MN, PhD,

  • Belinda Dewar MSc, BSc, RGN, RCNT, Dip Nurs,

  • Simon Pullin RN, MSc,

  • Ria Tocher RGN, BSc, PgCert Prod Ed

Dr Stephen Smith
School of Nursing
Midwivery and Social Care
Edinburgh Napier University
Canaan Lane
Edinburgh EH9 2TB
Telephone: 0131 455 5675


smith s., dewar b., pullin s. & tocher r. (2010) Relationship centred outcomes focused on compassionate care for older people within in-patient care settings. International Journal of Older People Nursing 5, 128–136

This paper describes outcomes from research titled Leadership in Compassionate Care. The research adopts a participatory action research approach, utilizing appreciative inquiry and relationship centred care. Outcomes of the research are based upon relationships between patients, families and staff. This paper focuses on in-patient care for older people. A range of data generation activities were undertaken including: observation, interviews using emotional touch points and reflective accounts. To highlight outcomes in compassionate care, this paper uses case studies from two participating services. Principles of compassionate care were derived from understanding experiences of patients, relatives and staff and initiating responsive action projects. The aim was to enhance the experience of relationship centred, compassionate care. The process of emotional touch points enabled a richer understanding of experience. In terms of outcomes for patients this involved, enhanced quality of time spent with family and opening up conversations between families and staff. Outcomes for families involved enhanced access to relevant information and the opportunity to make sense of their situation. Staff outcomes were gaining experience in working alongside family to co-create the service, enhanced understanding of the experiences of patients and relatives led to direct changes in individual and team practices.