People-centred care is like authentic cuisine: You immediately know what it is until someone asks you to define it.

Obviously it means care centred around the person. But what exactly does that entail? While not as challenging as settling the question of precisely which thinly-sliced vegetables properly belong in authentic ratatouille, defining people-centred care presents its own set of difficulties. But given how crucial it is to the provision of safe and inclusive health care and social services, we strive to make it as easy as possible to understand and adopt.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines people-centred care as “focused and organized around the health needs and expectations of people and communities rather than diseases. People-centred care extends the concept of patient-centred care to individuals and families, communities and societies.” Health Standards Organization (HSO) and Accreditation Canada (AC) have adopted this definition.

Click here for a deeper discussion about the differences between patient-centred care and people-centred care

 Irma Lindström Kjellberg

Irma Lindström Kjellberg (photo: Elin Lindström Claessen)

When the University of Gothenburg Centre for Person-Centred Care and the Swedish branch of the International Network of Health-promoting Hospitals and Health Services received funding to create and disseminate information about people-centred care, they originally thought of using videos. Better to show than simply tell, as every marketing expert knows.

But wait, said Irma Lindström Kjellberg. Why not try something more innovative and forward-looking like an app or a game? Why show when you can engage?

The two organizations partnered with software company IUS Innovation and created the PCC Game, available in the App store or Google Play.

The goal of the game is to challenge you with a series of role-playing exercises. They feature a variety of patients in different settings, just like in real life.

One lady fell, hurt herself and needs rehab. She feels foolish for having caused such a fuss, but she requires help with household chores and frets about how she’ll be able to look after her ailing husband. One man has breathing difficulties and swollen feet that prevent him from keeping up with his golfing buddies. A young woman with social anxiety wants different meds and a new app to help her deal with triggers.

They explain their concerns. Your job is to listen, ask the right questions and sometimes read between the lines.

The game asks you questions about each person’s care plan. That’s where you find out how much you truly understand people-centred care. Don’t worry; you get as many chances to get it right as you need. Nobody dies in this game, but it doesn’t end until every person is satisfied their care plan is centred around them.

It sounds easy, but it’s not. Just like authentic cuisine.