Person Centred Care & the 10 commandments

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 5.24.53 amThe saying “Treat others as you wish to be treated” is often bantered around in aged and dementia care, and society in general, and most think it is a lofty goal.

In reality, it is the exact opposite of Person Centred Care.

This old saying, which many suggest stems from the 10 commandments, is in reality, not person centred at all… as the way I want to be treated, may not be anything like the way you would like to be treated.

Don’t treat others as you would wish to be treated… but as they want to be treated! 

16 thoughts on “Person Centred Care & the 10 commandments

  1. Hi
    I agree with this! How I would like to be treated isnt necessarily how someone else would like to be treated. Each individual is unique


  2. Are you in danger of re-writing the 10 commandments here. If I recall it went along the lines of “do unto others as you would be done by”.

    I can’t see anything untoward in that, and it is for me the essence of person-centred care. You are surely placing yourself into the shoes (to coin a very hackneyed phrase) of someone in need of your support. So you must be trying to envisage how you would wish to be done by – by those now in charge of your care – if you were in a similar situation.

    Not sure it has anything to do with institutions, whatever you may mean by that. We all have our own relationships to examine and to improve if possible, so when some of us happen to be working in ‘institutions’ (whatever you may mean by that), perhaps the very best anyone can do is to envisage how we would prefer to treated and try to impart those personal values into our own delivery of care.

    Is it always possible to ‘dig a hole’ intp the minds of those we are caring for? I am minded to agree with kikirosetti because we can only do OUR best, and won’t always achieve YOUR best.


    • All interesting pints Denise.. I think, my thoughts on this are more about being around the care for others needs to be what they would want (culturally, spiritually, and so on), rather than what we would want for ourselves. Definitely not trying to re write the 10 commandments!


  3. Eeek, you got me on that one Kate. How dare I suggest that everyone would want to be treated as I would like to be. Thanks for the eye opener. Cheers


  4. Excellent perspective. The “old saw” assumes that “others” and “you” are the same. I know of lots of ways I WOULD NOT LIKE to be treated based on how others treat themselves! As usual, “RIGHT ON” Kate!


  5. I don’t think that people who say “Treat others as you wish to be treated” mean any disrespect. And I do not think their mantra is that far removed from Person-Centeredness. Indeed, if you think about the atrocities we hear going on in care settings, we can begin to understand their belief in the saying. Would anyone of us want to be left sitting in a cold, wet, smelly room for hours with no stimulation, no human contact? Would we like to be scolded, shouted at and talked down to like naughty school kids?

    Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies comes to mind, not so much the Bible. In his fairytale, we have Mrs Do-As-You-Would-Be-Done-By (the pamperer), and her colleague, Mrs Be-Done-By-As-You-Did (the punisher). Most people would love the former for her generosity and the way she pampered the water babies. But the reality of the world as we now know it is in the latter. I think we need a little bit of both characters for balance. All actions have consequences. People like Mrs Do-As-You-Would-Be-Done-By earnestly feel that their portrayal of unlimited love and pandering towards the wants of the babies are good, nice things to do to others. The very few like Mrs Be-Done-By-As-You-Did are my heroes in that they give you a taste of your own medicine. But how does this work in the world of Dementia? Food for thought…..


    • I agree Kiki, and certainly didn’t mean to suggest that was the case… And I’m not even sure I fully understand what you mean, nor do I recall all the things/people/stories you are referring to, but, everything is food for thought, thank you.


      • For me the biblical adage that states, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is simply about treating a person with respect. If someone disrespected you or treated you badly, you wouldn’t like it, so don’t be disrespectful to others or treat them badly. Treating a person with respect is about person-centredness, making sure that THEIR needs are met in a respectful way, I personally like this biblical saying.


      • I agree with you to a degree… but what if someone is an atheist, and has no concept of a persons spirituality? There could be a real clash of respect? I definitely agree don’t be disrespectful to others, spot on. But again, but some people find offensive, others don’t. It’s complicated…


  6. It seems so clear now that you have said it, that person centred care should be well thought out. To be ‘Don’t treat others as you would wish to be treated… but as they want to be treated! It is so important to get care and support right for each individual person. Well said!


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