Patient-centered care considers and incorporates a patient’s values, preferences, and goals into clinical decision-making and outcome evaluation. To achieve better outcomes, this collaboration between a caregiver and patient addresses the physical, mental, spiritual, and social determinants of a patient’s health.
A shift in perspective on patients is required to achieve these goals. However, most definitions of patient-centered care include several elements in common that influence how health systems and facilities are designed and managed.
Person-centered care, like any other type of care, requires extensive planning and risk assessment. This approach, however, may call for slightly more communication because it requires a lot of input from the patient. This does not imply that they have complete control over the course of action or have the final say, but their input should impact the planning. The patient’s opinions and input should be listened to and respected throughout the planning stage. The healthcare professional should try to incorporate their suggestions and work toward an efficient plan for everyone.
Person-centered care also emphasizes the importance of communicating effectively. Not all patients will feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions, and some may feel out of their depth when discussing what is best for their recovery. Another factor to consider is that the patient may suffer from physical or mental injuries that call for alternative modes of communication. When implementing a person-centered care plan, it is critical to find the best method of communication by consulting with the individual, their support system, and other working professionals.
If you believe that your doctor, another healthcare professional, or healthcare service is not putting your needs and choices first, you have the right to speak up and address your concerns. This also applies if you are dissatisfied with how someone you care for is being treated. Healthcare organizations should make it simple to find and use their feedback process.
An emphasis on collaboration
In patient-centered care, collaboration is essential. When patients participate in the care delivery process, healthcare providers can tailor care strategies to their specific needs and preferences. Traditionally, nurse practitioners treating overweight diabetes patients might hand out diet plans and exercise regimens while explaining why the changes are necessary. In a patient-centered care approach, nurse practitioners and patients could collaborate to identify activities and strategies that are compatible with patients’ lifestyles. Healthcare professionals will ask questions that are designed to guide personalized approaches to treating their patients’ conditions.
Collaboration fosters trust and rapport, promotes open communication, and assists patients in adhering to treatment plans. It can also reduce anxiety. These partnerships help patients to better understand their health conditions, allowing them to make more informed decisions. Collaboration enables healthcare professionals to gain a better understanding of their patients so they can help them achieve their health goals.
Evidence suggests that encouraging patients to participate actively in their care, treatment, and support can improve outcomes and experiences while potentially saving the system money through more individualized commissioning and assisting people in staying well and managing their conditions better. Patient-centered care helps people gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to make decisions about their health and care. It is coordinated and tailored to the individual’s needs, and healthcare professionals collaborate with those who use the services.
Evidence-based practice is a popular problem-solving strategy in the clinical setting, and it is essential for providing patient-centered care. It combines clinical expertise with the most recent and best research evidence and known patient values to offer the best possible patient care. Taking the needs and desires of the individual patient into account is one of the most critical aspects of evidence-based practice in nursing. We must understand what is most important to our patients, their treatment preferences, and how they define quality of life. All of these elements combine to form the definition of evidence-based healthcare.
While the primary goal of any patient-centered care plan is to improve individual health outcomes, healthcare providers benefit from increased patient satisfaction, greater staff productivity and morale, and lower overall healthcare costs. As a result, patient- or family-centered care is a viable option in almost any healthcare delivery setting. Click here to find out more about nursing education.
Advantages of patient-centered care
The benefits of patient-centered care include improved outcomes and higher patient engagement and satisfaction rates, allowing both the caregiver and the patient’s goals to be met. Outlined below are the evidence-based advantages of this increasingly popular care model.
Patients are treated with greater dignity
Patients who enter care frequently lose their independence, putting their dignity at risk. By respecting their wishes and treating them with compassion and empathy, patient-centered care allows you to maintain that dignity.
To apply this principle, remember that patients have their own thoughts, feelings, opinions, beliefs, and values, and these are not suddenly invalidated by their care needs. Respecting their characteristics allows the patient to feel validated and cared for much more completely, both physically and emotionally.
You must collaborate with other health and social care workers and services to provide consistent patient-centered care. Otherwise, when patients switch between services or caregivers, you must rebuild your understanding of their wants and needs. Meanwhile, the patient would not receive the necessary level of care.
Patients’ personal needs should be documented in their care plan and shared with other caregivers and services. Additionally, all caregivers should communicate to develop a shared understanding of providing patient-centered care to their patients, making sure to keep confidentiality in mind.
Increased patient satisfaction
When you use patient-centered care practices, patients often feel more supported. You can better meet their needs and increase their satisfaction if you take the time to listen to what they want and expect from their care.
Providing high-quality patient-centered care can also help your facility save money. For example, listening to patients’ needs and expectations can help reduce errors, reducing the amount of money your facility needs to spend over time.
Being open and honest with your patients is essential. Transparency with your patients should extend not only to the quality of care you can offer, such as quality and safety performance, but also to their personal health information. In addition, transparency affects all care team members, including the patient, in a patient-centered care model. This empowers your staff to provide the highest quality of care by allowing the patient to make informed decisions alongside the provider.
Improved staff satisfaction
Employee burnout is reduced, staff relationships are strengthened, and patient-caretaker interactions are improved with a more efficient system. All of this contributes to increased team member satisfaction and retention. It is also worth noting that greater employee retention leads to higher-quality employees, lower training costs, and lower expenses due to inefficient practices.
Examples of patient-centered care
Patient-centered care can be delivered in a variety of settings, ranging from family care and specialty providers to acute, emergency, and long-term care providers. Here are some examples.
In doctors’ offices
Patient-centered care focuses on the patient’s problem rather than their diagnosis. In patient-centered care models, patients have trusted, personal relationships with their doctors. Empathy, two-way communication, and eye contact are essential, as is the doctor’s ability to see beyond a patient’s immediate symptoms or pain.
This broader view of the patient’s needs often sees providers offering or referring to services such as peer support programs, social workers, financial counselors, mental and emotional health providers, transportation and daily living assistance, and language and literacy education in some communities.
Although human interaction is essential in patient-centered care, physician practices may also use various technology-based tools to assist patients in taking control of their healthcare outside the doctor’s office setting. Tools range from 24/7 online portals that allow patients to schedule appointments, get information about their condition and care instructions, review lab results and doctor’s notes, and pay bills whenever they want, to wearable technology and apps that allow patients to track vital statistics such as their weight, blood pressure, glucose levels, and cholesterol.
What exactly is patient-centered care in the hospital? A hospital patient-centered care model requires healthcare professionals to involve patients and their families in decision-making. Furthermore, hospital policies and design provide comfort to patients and their families while establishing openness, trust, and a sense of partnership among providers, patients, and families. As a result, patients and their families are empowered and supported to the greatest extent possible in hospitals that use patient-centered care models.
Instead of rules limiting who can and cannot visit, patients make decisions about their visitors. Patient-centered hospitals encourage family members to visit whenever the patients wish to see them. During shift changes, healthcare professionals may invite family members to discuss the patient’s progress and care with the care team.
Customized care plans
Patient-centered care should be tailored to the patient’s medical needs, personal values, and informed choices. The rationale for tailoring healthcare services is that each patient is unique and deserves to have their needs met and their preferences respected. This translates to healthcare providers tailoring environments to each individual’s comfort.
For example, one patient may prefer to listen to relaxing music in their recovery room, while another may feel better in a warm room. When care is customized, the patient’s individuality becomes essential to decision-making. In addition, provider sensitivity to cultural values is a crucial component of dignity and respect.
Instead of random episodes of care, patient services should be organized and structured for a continuum of care. Healthcare organizations provide care, long-term healing, collaboration, and relationships. Thus, patient-centered healthcare programs will be concerned with the quality and consistency of in-house care and educating patients to care for themselves after discharge.
To provide this service, discharge procedures and policies require healthcare providers to share clear advice and valuable information about restrictions, dietary needs, medications, and physical warning signs. In addition, healthcare providers must make clinical, social, physical, and financial support resources available.
Patient-centered care extends beyond doctor-patient interactions. It’s the entire experience, from scheduling an appointment to following up. As more consumers become patients, they expect more from the healthcare experience in the form of convenient, quick, and patient-centric touchpoints and technologies.
Effective patient engagement requires two key capabilities: gaining insight into patient behaviors and needs while maintaining patient privacy and responding to those behaviors and needs as they change in real time.
A holistic approach is an essential component of patient-centered care. This model addresses patients’ physical comfort needs while considering their emotional health. They frequently influence one another. Healthcare professionals must remember that each patient’s situation is unique. They can address patient health issues more effectively by considering their individual preferences, cultural traditions, values, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
For example, suppose a patient’s insurance only covers four sessions of physical therapy, and the patient cannot afford out-of-pocket expenses. In that case, healthcare professionals can collaborate to devise solutions. In addition, because patient-centered care considers the whole person, it accommodates a patient’s mental, social, cultural, and spiritual perspectives. This can include respecting the patient’s beliefs about death, pregnancy, birth, and diet. It also entails an awareness of the historical issues that cause a group to question professional healthcare advice.
A patient-centered care model’s primary goal is to improve individual outcomes. When patients are more involved in their care, they often recover faster and are more satisfied with the care they receive. For example, research has found that patient-centered care leads to better recovery from discomfort and concern, better emotional health in the future, and fewer diagnostic tests and referrals. Furthermore, studies have shown that a positive patient-provider relationship is a powerful motivator for preventive care. Patients are more likely to return for annual physicals, immunizations, and other services when they feel respected and see compassion and empathy from their providers.