From Fact to Meaning: Care Practitioners’ Hermeneutic Competence Development in Residential Care for Persons with Dementia

Ans Vrerink, Laurens ten Kate, Gaby Jacobs, André Mulder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic


In long-term care for people with dementia, person-centred care (PCC) is widely promoted as an approach that contributes to the well-being of persons in psycho-geriatric care. The goal of PCC is to acknowledge the personhood of residents and to indicate the responsibility of others to ensure the personhood of persons with dementia. In 2016 and 2018, qualitative empirical research was conducted with the purpose to enhance PCC and meaningful care. Five Dutch nursing homes and a total of eight communities of practice participated in the research project ‘People and their Stories’. The aim of this project was to strengthen the hermeneutic competence of care practitioners, with a focus on informal everyday interpersonal interactions between residents and care professionals. This article highlights how care professionals, by enhancing their hermeneutical competence, can do justice to the unique personhood of residents in everyday care practice. Three distinguished features for strengthening the hermeneutic competence of care professionals were formulated: respectful curiosity as a prerequisite, being able to differentiate between fact and meaning, and the awareness of own perspectives and assumptions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Aging Studies
Issue number101003
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • person-centred care, narrative approach, relational personhood, hermeneutic competence

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