The Importance of Patient-Centered Careby Bivi Franco on 03/24/16
If there’s one thing that every patient wants, it is to know that they are not simply a number or another case to be solved. We as humans have an innate need to be known, and that need bleeds into our health and how we are treated. In a world where phone conversations happen with automated machines, patients need to know that they are being heard and that their road to recovery is neither a dictatorship nor one of neglect but rather a partnership.
So what is patient-centered care? There are many schools of thought concerning the parameters of how involved patients are in the final say of their treatment, but several components are found in every school of thought. The first is that there is “a clear focus on the individual patient” (Miles 210). The second is that “establishing and maintaining healing relationships is central to delivering high quality healthcare” (211). And the third is that “the treatment of disease rests upon an understanding of illness in the context of the individual patient” (215).
Contrary to Evidence-based Medicine, patient-centered care balances the unique needs and history of the individual patient with the scientific advances prevalent in medicine. It is a unique dance between cold, hard research and tender, compassionate care of a person in which there is a balance that allows the humanistic needs to be met while conquering the physiological disease itself. M Gerteis breaks down patient-centered care into eight elements: “(1) respect for patients’ preferences, their values and self-expressed needs; (2) physical comfort; (3) emotional needs; (4) communication, information, education and explanation; (5) access to healthcare services; (6) continuity of care and follow-up; (7) involvement of the patients’ family and friends in the care process and decision-making & (8) co-ordination and integration of healthcare services” (211).
Feel Beautiful Today has the privilege of partnering with hospitals and cancer centers to help provide patient-centered care through Arts in Health programs. The programs we offer provide a space and time for hospital staff to engage their patients in personal, meaningful relationships that strengthen their trust in and respect for one another. Patients also are given the opportunity to explore their mental and emotional health in a safe environment that better allows them to voice their feelings to nurses and doctors, providing more open channels for communication and better care.
Miles, Andrew, & Juan Mezzich. "The Care of the Patient and the Soul of the Clinic: Person-Centered Medicine as an Emergent Model of Modern Clinical Practice." International Journal of Person Centered Medicine [Online], 1.2 (2011): 207-222. Web. 24 Mar. 2016.