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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337


THOMAS, Corne; DU TOIT, Sanetta Henrietta Johanna  and  VAN HEERDEN, Susanna Maria. Leadership: The key to person-centred care. S. Afr. j. occup. ther. [online]. 2014, vol.44, n.3, pp.34-39. ISSN 2310-3833.

Person-centred care for elders with advanced dementia living in long-term care is essential when addressing these residents' quality of life. Occupational therapists could play a facilitative role in enhancing person-centred care, but need to ensure that caregivers, as essential care partners, are collaborators in this process. Therefore, the perspectives of caregivers would be key to a process where greater understanding and joint effort pave the way for advances in care practice. A mixed methods triangulation design was used to investigate the perspectives of caregivers with regard to occupation, quality of life and activity participation. The findings of this study indicated that caregiver perspectives and behaviour are unlikely to change if the organisation as a whole does not embrace a person-centred approach towards the caregivers. The discussion highlights specific changes needed to attain a level of servant leadership that could assist the organisation to facilitate person-centred care, focussing mostly on caregiver burnout but also including feelings of boredom of residents with dementia. This article considers the potential role of servant leadership as a driving force behind person-centred care.

Keywords : Quality of life; dementia; burnout; boredom; servant leadership; restorative practices.

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