What does Patient Centered Care mean for people on a journey with cancer?

26 February 2015

What does Patient Centered Care mean for people on a journey with cancer?

I’m starting off the New Year thinking about patient centered care. What does being “patient centered” mean to cancer patients? There is a movement within the health care industry to provide patient centered care especially in hospitals – based on research and quality standards they require this. Person centered practices are a method to achieve patient centered care in the US.

In the UK person-centered practices are being introduced in hospitals. For instance, upon admission patients are being asked “what are the three most important things”and this is recorded in the chart. Nurses and other hospital staff are developing one-page profiles to get to know co-workers, members and build a more cohesive work team around patient care.

Mapping the “what could be possible” person-centered patient’s journey has also been developed in the UK.¬† What would this look like for people on a journey with cancer – starting at diagnosis?

In looking at the points along the journey that cause the most stress we can begin to see where person-centered practices can be used to help the person through the process.

Waiting for test results, decisions about treatment, waiting to start treatment or for surgery, can result in anxiety, stress and frustration for the patient.www.thinkaboutyourlife.org provides ways for people to process through these times.

What if patients didn’t have to do this on their own? Doctors and nurses could help patients know what to expect and help them think about ways to cope. Or link them with “navigators” that have information on resources (i.e. wigs, financial aid) and could help them develop the skills they need to cope. Usinggood day/bad day is a way to intentionally create good days while dealing with the unknowns of the cancer diagnosis. This gives patients a sense of control which studies have shown leads to better health outcomes.

Continuing to think about how to incorporate person-centered practices and looking for ways to partner with the medical community! Interested…leave a comment.

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