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Care Guides > The Value of Patient Centred Care | What Are the Eight Principles?

The Value of Patient Centred Care | What Are the Eight Principles?

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In patient centred care, your loved one’s specific health needs and preferred outcomes are at the heart of all healthcare decisions made. Being person-centred is about focusing on the needs of the individual and providing care which is dignified, respectful and responsive.

In this article, we’ve explained the concept of patient centred care in more detail, along with its benefits.

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In this article on patient-centred care:

  1. What is patient centred care?
  2. The benefits of patient centred care
  3. The eight principles of patient centred care
  4. Examples of patient centred care
  5. Developing a person-centred framework

What is Patient Centred Care?

Patient centred care revolves around caring for people (and their families) in a way which is meaningful and valuable to the individual receiving care. This type of care involves listening to people receiving care and making sure they’re always properly informed so they know what’s going on. Your loved one won’t just be treated from a clinical perspective, but also from an emotional, spiritual, social and financial perspective.

The National Academy of Medicine defines patient-centred care as:

“Providing care that is respectful of, and responsive to, individual patient preferences, needs and values, and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.”

What does patient centred care involve?

Patient-centred care encourages people receiving care, their families and providers to all work with each other and make shared decisions so they can create a comprehensive care plan and care package.

Several things affect how care is delivered:

  • The healthcare system’s mission, vision, values, leadership and quality of care are aligned with person-centred goals
  • Care is collaborative, coordinated and easy to access. In other words, the right care will be provided at the right time in the right place
  • Care focuses on emotional wellbeing and physical comfort alike
  • The preferences and cultural traditions of your loved one, fellow family members and friends are taken into account
  • People receiving care and their loved ones will play a significant role in making decisions - both the important and less important ones
  • Family members are encouraged to be present within a care setting like a care home. An effort is made to facilitate any requirements they may have. Some people are now becoming a carer for a family member, meaning their influence is much greater
  • Information is fully shared when it’s needed so families and their loved ones can make informed decisions

The Benefits of Patient Centred Care

The main goal (and benefit) of patient-centred care is to improve health outcomes for individuals receiving care, whether that be in a hospital, a residential care home or somewhere else.

Not only do people receiving care benefit, but providers and healthcare systems benefit as well, through:

  • Improved satisfaction scores among those receiving care and their families
  • Better reputation of providers among healthcare consumers
  • Care staff will have better morale so likely be more productive and motivated
  • Resources can be better and more effectively allocated
  • Reduced expenses and better financial margins through continued care

Two older women dancing together

Picker’s Eight Principles of Patient Centred Care

Seven main aspects of patient-centred care were developed using a wide range of focus groups - including people who formerly received care, family members, physicians and other hospital staff - along with researchers from the Harvard Medical School and other analyses.

These principles were later adapted to include an eighth aspect - access to care. Researchers found that certain practices are much more likely to lead to a positive outcome for somebody receiving care, with these findings forming Picker’s eight principles of person-centred care.

These principles address every area of care, with this approach being widely recognised as the preferred model of care.

Picker is an international charity that works across health and social care. This charity was established in the UK in 2000.

1. Being respectful of values, preferences and expressed needs

People receiving care should be involved in the decision-making process. Feeling as though you’re being treated like an individual with your own unique values, preferences and beliefs will make a huge difference to emotional wellbeing. People should be treated with dignity in care, respect and sensitivity.

2. Coordination and integration of care

Three areas were identified in which care coordination can reduce feelings of vulnerability:

Sometimes when you feel unwell, you may feel anxious and as though you aren’t fully in control. Properly coordinated care can go a long way to minimising these feelings.

3. Information and education

Hospitals and other care facilities can get around this concern by focusing on three types of communication:

  • Information on clinical status, progress and prognosis
  • Information surrounding care processes
  • Information that enables independence in care, autonomy and self-care

Anxiety is often expressed towards not being properly informed about a condition or prognosis.

Older and younger woman at work

4. Physical comfort

According to people receiving care, the three most important areas are:

  • Pain management
  • Assistance with activities and daily living needs (including personal care)
  • Hospital surroundings and environment

The level of physical comfort experienced has a big impact on someone’s experience when receiving care.

5. Emotional support and minimising any worries or anxiety

Caregivers should pay the most attention to:

  • Anxiety over physical status, treatment and potential outcomes
  • Anxiety over the impact a condition might have on themselves, family and friends
  • Concerns about the financial impact of an illness

Worries and anxiety felt towards illnesses can have as big an impact as any physical effects.

6. Involving family and friends

Here are the ways in which family and friends can play the biggest role in person-centred care:

  • Providing accommodation for family and friends where needed
  • Involving family and close friends in the decision-making process
  • Supporting family members as caregivers
  • Recognising the needs of family and friends, particularly when it comes to emotional support and mental wellbeing

7. Continuity and transition

Meeting needs in this area requires the following:

  • Easy-to-understand yet detailed information surrounding medication, physical limitations, dietary needs and so on
  • The coordination and planning of ongoing treatment and services after leaving care
  • Information regarding access to clinical, social, physical and financial support on an ongoing basis

Many people receiving care worry about their ability to look after themselves once they’re no longer in care.

8. Access to care

When it comes to accessing care, the following areas are seen as particularly important:

  • Knowing where hospitals, clinics and similar facilities are located
  • Having convenient transport available
  • Being able to easily schedule and make appointments when required
  • Having access to specialist services

It’s really important that people receiving care - such as care home residents - understand they’re able to access care when it’s needed and know how to do so.

Examples of Patient Centred Care

Patient centred care can take place across several different healthcare settings, including different care home types, speciality providers and emergency care.

Here are a few examples of how person-focused care works:

In a doctor’s office

Through patient-centred care, care has a bigger emphasis on what somebody requires, rather than just their diagnosis. As a result, doctors will form trusted relationships. Empathy and eye-to-eye contact both allow a doctor to look beyond immediate symptoms and instead think about what else is required. This could include financial counselling, emotional support, transportation and day-to-day living assistance - such as that provided in a care home.

Younger female doctor with older female patient

In a hospital

In a patient-centred care model, strict visiting hours and visitor restrictions are a thing of the past. Instead, people choose who can visit and when. Family members can make regular visits to their loved ones, allowing them to feel a part of the care team by joining in discussions and being involved with care decisions. When not at the hospital, they’ll be kept informed of their loved one’s progress through regular updates.

Personalised medicine

Patient-centred care extends to treatments and therapies. Just like care plans in a care home, medications are often customised as well. Somebody’s individual genetics can now be harnessed to create personalised medications and therapies, along with bespoke information that helps doctors and similar people work out the best medicines for each person receiving care.

Developing a Person-Centred Framework

Much like patient-centred care, person-centred care ensures that people stay engaged, healthy and able to make their own choices. Person-centred approaches underpin existing dementia support, palliative care homes and end of life care frameworks.

The NHS is bringing these programmes together and identifying what’s required by everyone involved to ensure people receive an amazing standard of personalised care.

This work will model the six principles produced by the People and Communities Board, alongside the New Models of Care Vanguard Sites, to change the way that health and care relate to people and communities.

These principles require that:

  • Care and support are person-centred, meaning they’re personalised, coordinated and empowering
  • Services are created in partnership with citizens and communities
  • The focus is on equality and trying to narrow inequalities as much as possible
  • Carers are identified, supported and involved where possible
  • Volunteers are recognised for their importance

Above all, these principles lay out a basis for excellent person-centred care.

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