Person-Centered Care May Contribute to Job Satisfaction

Many studies have shown the benefits of person-centered care for long-term care residents. By emphasizing the value of the patient’s feelings and sense of self and emphasizing that caregiving is above all else a relationship between individuals, care providers, and administrators, administrators have greatly improved the social lives and health outcomes of residents. Might this emotion-oriented, relational model of care also be beneficial to professional caregivers? A review in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry summarizes the small body of research on person-centered care and its influence on job satisfaction.

The researchers found only seven studies that included the effects of person-centered care on job satisfaction, all of which took place in the Netherlands. Across the studies, 42 different dimensions of job satisfaction were measured, including the impact of person-centered care on work demand, emotional exhaustion, and opportunities for career and personal development. The different studies varied on what specific form of care was being provided; for instance, some caregivers worked in psychological or psychiatric settings, while others were in areas that focused on physiological treatment. Specific measures of job satisfaction varied, as well. The authors also stated that the methodological quality of the studies varied. Thus, there is tremendous potential for significant and innovative research in this area.

This room for growth in the study of person-centeredness and job satisfaction does not mean that the authors were unable to draw conclusions based on the existing research. Each study demonstrated a positive effect of person-centered care on at least one aspect of job satisfaction in the areas of general satisfaction, workload for psychiatric workers, emotional exhaustion, and sense of personal accomplishment. Based on one study, workload appeared higher for workers in non-psychiatric areas, but so did social support received from supervisors.

The authors conclude that the current state of research findings are sufficient to support person-centered care as a positive influence on job satisfaction but that findings are too limited to draw more specific conclusions on its influence. As a concept, person-centered care is still somewhat open-ended and was measured differently across studies. Thus, this review supports the hypothesis that person-centered care may be beneficial to workers as well as residents, and provides researchers with potential areas in which they can contribute to our understanding of these benefits.



A. van den Pol-Grevelink, Jukema JS and Smits CHM (2011). “Person-Centred Care and Job Satisfaction of Caregivers in Nursing Homes: A Systematic Review of the Impact of Different Forms of Person-Centered Care on Various Dimensions of Job Satisfaction.” International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry May 1 2011 (epub ahead of print).

Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging workplace programs on person-centered care:

The LEAP family of programs for providing person-centered care in senior living and long-term care communities.

The S.E.L.F. Program to provide person-centered care for individuals with memory loss and dementia.

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