The WHO defines person-centred healthcare as putting people and communities at the centre of health systems and empowering them to become an active participant in healthcare delivery as opposed to being mere recipients. It elaborates further by stating that person-centric healthcare is one that considers people’s perspectives, needs and preferences, provides necessary and sufficient education and information to empower them to take charge of their own health and provides a continuum of health promotion, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative services.

The NHS states that person-centred healthcare places emphasis on coordinated and customised education and information to empower people to manage their health better.

The Picker Institute lays down 8 principles of person-centred healthcare. These are:

  1. Physical and on-time access to care
  2. Delivery of effective treatment by a qualified professional
  3. Continuity of care and smooth transition (e.g. during referrals)
  4. Involvement and support of family and caregivers
  5. Education, information, clear communication and support for self-care
  6. Respect for patient’s values, experiences and preferences
  7. Emotional support to alleviate anxiety and fear
  8. Attention to physical and environmental needs

All of the above definitions are largely equivalent and valid. However, person-centred care within the ambit of integrative healthcare or integrative medicine can be defined on the following set of premises:

  1. Active solicitation of and respect for patients medical history, values, experiences and preferences
  2. Identification of existing research data and doctor’s experiences in relation to the patient’s condition
  3. Customised (to patient’s preferences) design, education, delivery and coordination of treatment using integrative approaches and philosophies
  4. Patient, family and caregiver support for continued self-care, disease management and well-being