Patient-centered care is a conceptual health care practice that strives to maximize safety, value, comfort and support. It includes listening to, informing and involving patients in their care. Health care programs that focus on patients provide care that is respectful of individual preferences and responsive to personal needs and values. Regardless of the simplicity or severity, patients should be involved in all types of clinical decisions.
Patient-based care should be customized according to patients’ medical needs, internal values and informed choices. The justification behind customizing health care services is that each patient is different and deserves to have their different needs met and preferences respected. This translates to health care providers customizing environments to make them comfortable for each individual. For instance, one patient may want relaxing music in their recovery room, but another patient may simply prefer a hot room. Customizing care allows the patient’s individuality to become an important component of decision making. An essential part of dignity and respect is provider sensitivity to cultural values.
Patient services should be organized and structured for a continuum of care instead of random episodes of care. Health care organizations don’t only provide care, but they also provide long-term healing, collaboration and relationships. Thus, health care programs that focus on patients will not only worry about the quality and consistency of in-house care, they will also focus on educating patients to care for themselves after discharge. In order to offer this service, discharge procedures and policies must require health care providers to share understandable advice and valuable information regarding restrictions, dietary needs, medications and physical warning signs. Health care providers must provide information regarding clinical, social, physical and financial support resources.
Internal Information Sharing
Health care providers, medical facilities and insurance organizations are notorious for withholding information from each other. Knowledge and information should be freely shared between patients, care partners and approved third parties. Patient-centered environment ensure that all members of the care team are continually aware of the patient’s status, care plan and problems. This requires patients to be always informed and involved during the decision making process. An alarming amount of patients are not completely informed about their condition, prognosis and options. To reduce this problem, health care organizations should provide communications about clinical status, progress and prognosis.
Patient care is provided should be provided in a comfortable and healing environment that offers peace and support. The center of patient-centered systems is the actual environment. Creating a healing environment for patients is achieved through relaxing music, color schemes, healing gardens and pet therapy programs. Some hospitals ensure that patients’ rooms have pleasing scents, such as lavender, and available amenities. The level of physical comfort patients experience is directly related to higher levels of satisfaction and progress. Popular programs include pain management coaching, assistance with daily living needs and pleasant hospital surroundings.
Families and friends of patients should be considered an essential part of the care team because they promote the patient’s healing process. Family and friends may support patients emotionally, physically and psychologically. They can help patients understand physicians’ instructions and ask valid post-care questions. Some hospitals ask that patients bring individuals to participate in the health care experience with them. Due to the fact that many patients are in a state of fear, pain and discomfort, they often fail to hear or process the right information.
When it comes to encouraging friends and family to participate in the patient-centered care process, hospitals need to provide accommodations, involve them in decision making and recognize that family members as caregivers.