Aim. To present the nursing outcomes from the evaluation of developments in the care environment in residential settings for older people.Design. The evaluation data reported here is derived from a larger national programme of work that focused on the development of person-centred practice in residential services for older people using an emancipatory practice development framework. A multi-method evaluation framework was utilised. Outcome data were collected at three time points between December 2007 and September 2009. The data reported here were collected using an instrument called the 'Person-Centred Nursing Index'.Findings. Heavy workload was the main cause of stress among nurses. Personal and professional satisfaction with the job was scored highest by the total sample of nurses. Nineteen factors were examined using the Person-Centred Nursing Index. Statistically significant changes were observed in 12 of these. In addition, there were statistically significant changes in nurses' perceptions of caring, indicating a shift from a dominant focus on 'technical' aspects of care, to one where 'intimate' aspects of care were more highly valued.Relevance to clinical practice. The findings highlight the importance of the development of effective teamwork, workload management, time management and staff relationships in order to create a culture where there is a more democratic and inclusive approach to practice and space for the formation of person-centred relationships.