Scientific Contribution

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 455-463

First online:

Types of centredness in health care: themes and concepts

  • Julian C. HughesAffiliated withNorthumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and the Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle UniversityPsychiatry of Old Age, Ash Court, North Tyneside General Hospital Email author 
  • , Claire BamfordAffiliated withInstitute of Health and Society, Newcastle University
  • , Carl MayAffiliated withInstitute of Health and Society, Newcastle University

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Background For a variety of sociological reasons, different types of centredness have become important in health and social care. In trying to characterize one type of centredness, we were led to consider, at a conceptual level, the importance of the notion of centredness in general and the reasons for there being different types of centeredness. Method We searched the literature for papers on client-, family-, patient-, person- and relationship- centred care. We identified reviews or papers that defined or discussed the notions at a conceptual level. The reviews and papers were analyzed as text transcripts. Results We identified 10 themes that were common to all the types of centredness. At a conceptual level we could not identify thematic differences between the types of centredness. These findings were subjected to a philosophical critique using ideas derived from Wittgenstein. Conclusion Different types of centredness are required in different contexts. The differences are justified by their practical utility. The unifying themes of centredness, however, reflect a movement in favour of increasing the social, psychological, cultural and ethical sensitivity of our human encounters.


Carer-centred care Family-centred care Patient-centred care Person-centred care Relationship-centred care Concept analysis Wittgenstein