Patient-centred care is a term frequently used by us, the industry and most importantly the NHS – but what does patient-centred care actually mean? In this post, you can find out its true definition, why the NHS follows this unique healthcare approach, the benefits and a real-life example.
So, what is patient-centred care?
Patient-centred care is an approach to healthcare that sees patients as equal partner in the planning, development and monitoring to ensure the care they receive meets their physical and mental health needs.
Although there is not a specific definition of patient-centred care, there has been plenty of research on what it means to assess what it means to practice it…
- Respect a patient’s values
- Consider a patient’s preference and expressed needs
- Coordinated and integrated care
- Work together to make sure there is good communication, information and education
- Provide emotional support
- Involve and update family and friends
- Ensure a person has access to appropriate care when they need it
Why does the NHS follow a patient-centred approach to care?
With an ageing population, an increasing demand in healthcare services with limited resources – research reveals that a patient-centred care approach can help improve a patient’s day-to-day life and reduce their need to visit and use health services.
One of the NHS’ seven principles is “the patient will be at the heart of everything the NHS does… it should support individuals to promote and manage their own health. NHS services must reflect and be coordinated around and tailored to, the needs and preferences of patients, their families and their carers”.
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What are the benefits of a patient-centred care approach?
As we have noted, the primary goal of a patient-centred approach is to improve an individual’s health outcome, not just an overall country’s health outcome. Not only do patients benefit, but so do NHS trusts and the entire NHS system through:
- Improved satisfaction scores
- Enhanced service reputation
- Better morale, productivity and efficiency amongst healthcare providers
- Improved resource allocation
What is an example of patient-centred care?
Under a patient-care focused model, there will be empathy, two-way communication and the doctor or specialist nurse will be able to see beyond a patient’s immediate symptoms or pain.
In a doctor-patient scenario, such as a GP visit – the broader look at the needs of the patient’s needs offers additional services such as peer support programs, social workers, mental and emotional support providers, transportation, living assistance and even language and literacy support.
In addition, where possible – the physician can also utilise tools available for the patient to use outside the doctor’s office. Such as online portals, care instructions to physical health tools such as equipment to assess weight, blood pressure, glucose levels and cholesterol.
To summarise, patient care has the power to completely transform an individual’s life and the lives’ of those concerned about them.