getting back to basics


I’ve been preaching about patient centred care for a long time.  The term patient centred care is not in vogue so much anymore. It has been replaced by the new phrases like patient experience, patient engagement and patient partnership.

Patient centred care is my old friend.  At its core, it is about how we treat each other as human beings.

As the Institute of Patient and Family Centered Care says: Patient centered care is grounded in mutually beneficial partnerships among patients, families, and health care professionals.

This definition applies whether partnerships are between reception staff and patients, clinicians and patients or organizations and patients.  The elements of patient centred care – respect, dignity, information sharing and collaboration apply no matter what term you use.

This weekend I had an opportunity to deliver a workshop on patient centred care to a packed room of health professionals.  It felt good to get back to basics.  I was particularly pleased that the organization recruited two patient speakers.  I worked with the speakers to support them for the event and then I moderated the patient panel.  The patients’ expenses were paid for and they were offered an honorarium.  This is best practice in including patients in conferences.

I only work with these types of organizations.  This type of respectful treatment of patients demonstrates to me that the organization values the patients’ time and wisdom.  This is patient centred care too.

Including patients in conferences?  Treat them with dignity and respect.  Share the information with them that they need.  Don’t do things to patients or for patients.  Work with patients.

I know this isn’t rocket science.  But everybody needs an occasional reminder about what matters to patients. We want to be treated like human beings.  Do unto others as you would have them unto you.

It is about bringing back the old-fashioned notion of bedside manners, whether one is actually at the bedside, or in the treatment room, or at the boardroom table, or at a health conference.  Courtesy matters.

Respect.  Dignity.  Information sharing.  Collaboration.  That’s what’s most important to me, no matter the setting, no matter the people involved.  These are the foundations of any trusting relationship.  With all our fancy lingo, I fear we’ve floated away what really matters – and that’s simply treating each with respect.



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