Case Study


Elsie was brought up in the countryside outside Birmingham, the youngest of four children and the only girl.  In 1938 she moved to London to train to be a teacher and married Jo two years later just before he was sent overseas.  Jo was killed in 1944.  They had no children and Elsie did not remarry but went on to develop her career as a teacher and ending up as the headmistress of the primary school near where she was born.

Elsie is in the last stages of dementia.  She is now unable to move about independently, has to have all her personal care done for her, is unable to speak and has to be fed by staff.  Sometimes she gets agitated and screams, sometime she whimpers, and a lot of the time she just sleeps.

We know some facts about Elsie but what else should we know that gives her unique personhood?

Elsie was always a member of the local choir.  She loves English choral music and has a huge collection of records.  She hates the smell of hyacinths as it reminds her of her mother’s death when Elsie was only ten.  Her biggest treat all her working life was to go and have a chiropody session at a local centre where they knew that what she liked most of all was the foot massage they included in the session.

Put yourself into Elsie’s shoes, imagine what it must be like to have all your personal care done by strangers, to smell a smell that only brings unhappy thoughts, and to be deprived of the sounds and touch that bring comfort?

How can you provide person centered care.