life story research

Life story books are a well-researched and proven method to provide better person-centered care plans and care practices, more effective relationships between residents, family, and staff. For the most part, the literature reveals that life stories generally had a positive influence on the the person in need of care, their relatives, and care partners.  Life story books allowed the voice of persons in need of care to be “heard and to feel proud about themselves and their lives”.

Life story books have been used in long-term and community care facilities for nearly thirty years and there has been increasing awareness in its potential to enhance person-centered care. Studies found that when staff knew the resident’s life story achievements and experiences, they were able to prompt positive memories which benefited the resident by reducing anxiety and challenging “expressions”.  Furthermore, life story books provided positive long-term memory triggers that could be used to promote both verbal and non-verbal communication and interactions with the person and view them in relation to their unique family history and past experiences.  Care staff that have understanding and insight into why a resident might exhibit a certain expression, felt empowered to provide more person-centered care rather than the usual “task-oriented” care.  All the studies found the staff attitudes, compassion and empathy for persons in need of care improved when a life story book was created by the resident or their family and used in practice.

Here is a helpful list of research on life story books and more: