Icon for Key Principle 5

PRINCIPLE 5: Communication processes to support person centred care

Communication processes and tools will support person-centred care for the older person throughout their hospital journey and at their transfer of care to the community.

Get to know your patients

It is essential to identify the patient’s physical, medical, social and psychological needs and tailor their care accordingly. Information can be gathered from the older person and/or a carer or family member with expert knowledge of their needs, as well as staff from residential care or a community-based case manager, GP or someone who knows the person well.

“Get to know you” systems

“Get to know you” systems enable carers and family to communicate the care needs of the older person with the healthcare team and help health professionals develop a social and personal profile of the older person (1).

 “Get to know you” systems aim to inform health professionals caring for the confused older person with information about the patient, their needs and habits in order to provide person centred care.

Examples of these systems include:

  • the Sunflower tool – a practical tool (for bedside notes or end of bed) summarising an individual’s likes and dislikes (2, 3)
  • the TOP5 approach, collecting information from carers to personalise care for patients with dementia when requiring hospitalisation (4, 5)
  • patient story forms – designed to be completed by a carer/family member or staff – in consultation with the patient where possible – to record details of the older person’s personal care requirements as well as social and emotional habits and needs.


  1. Christie J and Cunningham C. Caring for people with dementia in hospital settings. HammondCare, 2011.
  2. NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation. Care of confused Hospitalised older persons website 2013. Available from: www.aci.health.nsw.gov.au/chops.
  3. NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation. CHOPs Report. 2013.
  4. Axam A LK. TOP5 Getting to know you? Sydney: Clinical Excellence Commission, 2013.
  5. Strudwick M. TOP5 – A carer’s tool to support continuity of care for people with thinking and communication difficulties, across all care settings. Sydney: NSW Health, 2012.