What is Person Centred Care and How can Hospitals Implement It?

A nurse assists a patient
Cheryl Lee
July 15, 2022
1 min read
A nurse assists a patient

Hospitals are adopting person centred care to enhance their patient’s experience and overcome issues the pandemic has surfaced.

What is person centred care?

Person centric care is a development from patient centred care.

From a patient centred care perspective, patients are the priority. As such, it requires carers to have a holistic analysis of the patient’s before forming a diagnosis of his or her illness.

A person-centred approach provides patients with decision-making power, instead of taking on a passive role like the ones in patient centred care. It provides patients with care “organised around the health needs and expectations of people and communities rather than on diseases”.

Furthermore, it extends the concept of patient centred care to include their families and communities. This is also why the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare sees person centric care as “a foundation to safe, high-quality healthcare”.

Dimensions of person centred care

A person-centred approach looks at the entire patient journey. Along with the appointment and consultation stages, it also includes interactions occurring in-between the different phases of a patient’s journey.

The National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (NSQHS) has outlined 8 key dimensions for person-centric care.

1. Respect

When patients feel respected, they develop positive sentiments which have a constructive effect on their healthcare processes. For instance, they are more likely to be open and committed to their medical treatment.

2. Emotional support

The provision of emotional support can minimise a patient’s frustration and ease their concerns about their physical status, treatment, or even financial aspect. It also signals the support they have which empowers them to positively view their treatment.

3. Physical comfort

Physical comfort is influenced by patients’ internal and external comfort. This includes symptom control, the environment they are in, or the people they are with. When physical comfort is achieved, patients’ health outcomes are likely to improve.

4. Information and communication

When nurses transmit information via active communication, it reduces patient’s uncertainty about their treatment. Furthermore, two-way communication can increase a patient’s engagement during decision-making and enhance their experience.

5. Continuity and transition

The idea of continuity and transition looks at the provision of uninterrupted care to a patient. This can take place within a hospital or it may refer to transfers between different institutions. It also looks at after-discharged patient care.

6. Care coordination

Care coordination usually applies to patients who require complex care from a number of healthcare providers. When care is coordinated, it can improve a patient’s health outcomes through an integrated care plan.

Involving patient’s carers and family members can provide doctors with greater insights about the patient.

7. Involvement of carers and family

The involvement of carers and family members can provide hospitals with critical insights into patient’s preferences and history. This can help doctors arrive at a more informed diagnosis about the patient’s conditions.

8. Access to care

With greater access to care, patients can experience a more streamlined procedure. As such, it can help to enhance a patient’s experience. Additionally, having prompt medical consultation and reduced waiting time increases a doctor’s capacity to attend to more patients in a day.

Benefits of person centred care

Improve patient’s experience

Beyond prioritising patients themselves, person centred care is also a collaborative approach which includes patients in the decision making process.

By involving patients, they are better aware of their conditions and can understand what they can expect in their medical journey. It encourages them to actively manage their health outcomes by developing relevant knowledge and skills.

The inclusion of their carers and their loved ones is also another factor influencing patients’ satisfaction score. When they feel supported and cared for, they are more receptive to the environment they are in which can enhance a patient’s experience.

Enhance hospital’s reputation

The nature of a person centred care cultivates a compassionate environment which focuses on patient needs and goals to achieve better health outcomes. Thus the adoption of a person-centric approach in hospitals promotes positive sentiments about the service provided.

Increased safety, quality and cost effectiveness

Research has found person centred care to be cost effective while enhancing the quality delivered.

This is possible given the collaborative nature of person-centric care which paved the way for effective two-way communication between patients and physicians. Hence, this contributes to patients having greater confidence in the diagnosis which can help to reduce costly tests and specialist referrals.

How can hospitals implement person centred care

Most hospitals understand the theory of person-centred practice and how it looks when implemented. However, without the proper tools, hospitals may require an extensive amount of time to achieve what they have planned.

Here are some methods hospitals can employ when adopting a person-centric approach.

Understanding patient’s current experience allows hopsital to further improve their patient’s journey.

Patient experience tracker

It is crucial for hospitals to understand their current progress from a patient’s perspective. Thus, the adoption of a patient experience tracker becomes fundamental in tracking their experience at various stages of the patient journey. Some possible touch points include registration, treatment, discharge and more.

At Zipline, we offer a full range of feedback tools such as email, messages, QR codes and devices catered for experience tracking. This allows hospitals to better understand patient’s on site or after treatment experience.

Moving forward, hospitals can easily narrow in on areas requiring immediate attention and take actions according to NSQHS standards.

Streamlining nurses’ workload

Nurses are the ones who interact closely with patients to ensure their needs are met. As such, the delivery of person centred care heavily involves nurses.

Yet, the nature of the nursing industry and labour shortages has resulted in nurses taking on unnecessary tasks. These deviated nurses from their primary task of focusing on the patient and communicating with their family, to ticking off long checklists and managing paperwork.

To overcome these challenges, tools such as Zipline’s contractor compliance can reduce nurses’ administrative burden of checking in authorised contractors. Our 360 degree compliance with gated check-in can help you stop non-compliant contractors from checking in.

Coupled with our powerful reporting, hospitals can easily demonstrate compliance, audit and improve processes with minimal nurses involvement.

Now, patients get to spend more time with their nurses, enhancing the patient’s experience.

Affirmation can improve employee experience which in turns creates positive patient experience.

Adopting appropriate motivational mechanism

We are no stranger to the term ‘burnout’. In fact, burnout develops in 20% to 80% of healthcare workers. This brings about serious repercussions to not just patients but to the hospital’s operational efficiency as well.

Across industries, burnout has caused the Australian economy $14 billion out of $60 billion annual mental health issues economic costs.

To reduce instances of staff burnout, hospitals can consider implementing motivational mechanisms such as pay raise, reducing working hours or displaying sincere recognition.

Through constant motivation, nurses are more inclined to care for their patients and collaborate with relevant departments to deliver higher quality care. Patients can also observe nurses’ body language to determine their level of motivation. Of which, positive cues such as good eye contact or smile can enhance a patient’s experience in the hospital.

In summary

Person centred care is increasingly in the limelight as the way moving forward for patient care.

In view of this, hospitals should start making plans to pivot their current direction to encompass person-centric practice to maximise patient’s experience. When in doubt, the eight dimensions outlined by NSQSH is a good reference for hospitals to refer to.

As patient care gradually becomes a crucial determinant when choosing hospitals, the employment of person centred care is a hospital’s next best bet.

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