Leadership: The key to person- centred care

Corne Thomas, Sanet Sanetta Henrietta Johanna Du Toit, Rita Susanna Maria Van Heerden


Person-centred care for elders with advanced dementia living in long-term care is essential when addressing these residents’ quality of life.  Occupational therapists could play a facilitative role in enhancing person-centred care, but need to ensure that caregivers, as essential care partners, are collaborators in this process.  Therefore, the perspectives of caregivers would be key to a process in which greater understanding and joint effort pave the way for advances in care practice. A mixed methods triangulation design was used to investigate the perspectives of caregivers with regard to occupation, quality of life and activity participation.  The findings of this study indicated that the caregiver’s perspectives and behaviour are unlikely to change if the organisation as a whole does not embrace a person-centred approach towards the caregivers.  The discussion highlights specific changes needed to attain a level of servant leadership that could assist the organisation to facilitate person-centred care, focussing mostly on caregiver burnout but also including feelings of boredom of residents with dementia. This article considers the potential role of servant leadership as driving the force behind person-centred care.


Keywords: Quality of life, dementia, burnout, boredom, servant leadership, restorative practices.

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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