Defining patient-centred care
Let’s start by defining what patient-centred care is. This can differ from practice to practice, but the general idea of having a patient-centred approach is to care for your patients in ways that are meaningful and valuable to each individual patient.
It is to provide care that is respectful and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values, as well as ensuring that their values guide clinical decisions, ie the driving force behind all the healthcare decisions and quality measurements.
One might even adopt the perspective that your patients are your partners, in which you not only care for them in a clinical sense but also in an emotional, social, and mental sense etc. People might also use terms such as patient-centred, family-centred, user-centred, individualised or personalised.
THE BENEFITS OF PATIENT-CENTRED CARE
Both the patient and the healthcare provider will greatly benefit from a patient-centred approach. The main benefit and goal of a patient-centred approach is the improvement of individual health outcomes.
Here are a few benefits of adopting a patient-centred approach:
- Improved quality of services offered
- Improved patient satisfaction
- Improved healthcare professional’s satisfaction in the care provided
- Enhanced practice reputation and patient loyalty
- Improved morale and productivity amongst the practice’s staff
- Encourages patients to lead more healthy lifestyles / take care of themselves
- Reduced pressure on health and social services may, in turn, reduce the overall cost of care, etc.
TIPS ON HOW TO ADOPT A PATIENT-CENTRED APPROACH
Now that you know what patient-centred care is and how it can benefit both parties, here are some simple tips on how to adopt such an approach:
- Respect people’s values, preferences and expressed needs
- Practice clear communication, information and education sharing and transparency
- Ensure there is consistency between and within services
- Ensure that people have access to appropriate care
- Ensure that people are physically comfortable and feel safe
- Provide emotional support and alleviation of fear and anxiety where required
- Involve family and friends where needed.
In a sense, one can say that by adopting a patient-centred approach, you’re also adopting a compassionate point of view. However, being compassionate in this scenario involves activities as well as the way healthcare professionals and patients think about care and their relationships within.