Patient and Family Centered Care Thesis Essay

2251 Words Dec 13th, 2012 10 Pages
PATIENT-CENTERED CARE IMPROVEMENT GUIDE

I. INTRODUCTION

“There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”
Victor Hugo

PATIENT-CENTERED CARE: AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME

O

rganizing the delivery of health care around the needs of the patient may seem like a simple and obvious approach. In a system as complex as health care, however, little is simple. In fact, thirty years ago when the idea of “patient-centered care” first emerged as a return to the holistic roots of health care, it was swiftly dismissed by all but the most philosophically progressive providers as trivial, superficial, or unrealistic. Its defining characteristics of partnering with patients and families, of welcoming―even encouraging―their
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Nevertheless, many organizations continue to struggle with what “it” is. This ambiguity ultimately leaves many with vague or muddled expectations for what constitutes patient-centered care. Is it a surprise, then, that many leaders report feeling bewildered at how to go about becoming more patient-centered? Or that others, convinced that their approach is indeed a patient-centered one, are surprised to find data reflecting patient and/or staff discontent? In the broadest terms, patient-centered care is care organized around the patient. It is a model in which providers partner with patients and families to identify and satisfy the full range of patient needs and preferences. Not to be overlooked in defining patient-centered care is its concurrent focus on staff. To succeed, a patient-centered approach must also address the staff experience, as staff’s ability and inclination to effectively care for patients is unquestionably compromised if they do not feel cared for themselves. Although patients may not always be able to accurately assess the clinical quality of their care, or whether safety processes are in place, patient safety and high clinical quality are fundamental to a patient-centered approach. Patient-centered care does not replace excellent medicine―it both complements clinical excellence and contributes to it through effective partnerships and communication. A wealth of resources exists to guide organizations in addressing clinical
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