Patient care within the healthcare space has evolved into many things over the years. Currently, modern healthcare is more concerned about the needs of patients and how treatments and other plans can be made to fit their personal preferences than anything else. It also goes a long way in encouraging the active participation of patients in the decision-making process of their treatment.
Learning about patient-centered care is useful for different categories of health professionals, and nurses aren’t left out as they play a vital role in the implementation and caregiving process. To truly provide this kind of care for patients, nurses need to first understand its intricacies.
This article will break down the concept of patient-centered care by defining it, highlighting the benefits of this caregiving approach, outlining the elements of patient-centered care, and considering the application of patient-centered care in nursing care roles.
What is patient-centered care?
Although there isn’t a generally accepted definition of patient-centered care, the term has fast become popularized among professionals in all healthcare settings. Patient-centered care is a category that is typified by the provision of enhanced medical experiences, where patients feel involved, respected, and enabled throughout the process. It is also a style of care that can be used by various categories of healthcare professionals that work with different patients.
One reason why there isn’t one generally accepted definition is that there are different aspects to it. One aspect involves treating patients with empathy and respect while providing all the support they require to make the right decisions regarding their course of treatment and general health. This means that if a patient requires treatment for a condition or ailment, the health professional attending to him must ensure that they are aware of their diagnosis, treatment plans, test results, and potential outcomes of the treatment. It will also mean that patient involvement is taken seriously at every step of the treatment.
Another aspect of patient-centered care is the involvement of family members and guardians in the treatment process. Not only is the patient informed about important decisions, but the trusted family members are also provided with resources that help them understand the treatment provided.
Benefits of patient-centered care
There are many reasons why patient-centered care is beneficial and works for all parties involved – patients, professionals, and health institutions. Some of these benefits include the following.
Increased patient satisfaction
Ultimately, what truly matters is that the patient’s need is catered for. Putting the patient at the center and ensuring that practices align with the existing need will, in a lot of ways, increase patient satisfaction. A patient may feel that they have better support from their healthcare provider when patient-centered care practices are utilized. Taking time to listen to the wants and expectations of patients helps in tailoring the treatment and care plan. This will also increase the level of satisfaction derived from the process.
Improved workplace reputation
The reputations of hospitals and other healthcare facilities are dependent on the increased satisfaction levels and treatment systems available. Using patient-centered care ensures that workers can build a better reputation for the workplace throughout the healthcare network. This happens when patients feel more compelled to give positive reviews about the high level of care received at the facility. They will also recommend the services to friends and family who require similar services.
Improved employee morale
Employees have a great influence on the outcome and reputation of a healthcare facility. However, utilizing a patient-centered care system can also improve morale to work. This is possible because healthcare professionals have a better chance of forming a valued connection with their patients. This makes the treatment process easier and gives employees something to build on.
Ensuring that the highest level of patient care is provided may seem like procuring a high level of expenses, but in the long run, it will reduce the expenses for the healthcare facility. Paying attention to the needs and expectations of patients will minimize costly mistakes and in turn reduce the overall amount that the facility spends.
Efficient health outcomes
Patient-centered care can improve the health results of patients. When patients are properly cared for, this will also positively affect their stress levels, help them rest, and improve their ability to share their expectations and needs with assigned professionals.
Elements of patient-centered care
There are many elements that are required for patient-centered care to work effectively. Listed below are the factors that determine the functionality of patient-centered treatment.
Respect in patient-centered care can come in many forms. First, it means that nurses offer significant advice to patients and show respect for their values and preferred option of treatment. It also means that nurses allow their patients to set achievable health goals. Respect is truly about listening to what the patient needs and working towards honoring them as much as possible.
Making coordinated decisions makes your patients feel empowered. It allows them to see that their decisions are being carried out in accordance with what works best for them. Coordination also means that nurses combine every element involved in their medical care, from support resources to medical staff in a way that supports their medical preferences. An example is a patient deciding to take a certain medication over another. Rather than administering the medication, the nurse can provide information about the benefits and side effects of the medicine too.
One important part of patient-centered care is ensuring that patients are informed about their diagnoses and progress. To ensure that this happens, nurses need to maintain a routine check-in with patients about their health status, possible outcomes, and the right treatment plans. Ensuring that nurses remain transparent about their current health state can help patients feel more secure about the process and trust the healthcare employees with the expected outcome. In addition, coordinating communication between the different members of the working healthcare team will ensure that nurses provide consistent and clear updates to their patients.
Ensuring that patients feel comfortable with the treatment propositions and the facility is very important. This ensures that a patient is comfortable while getting the right care. Comfort level can be measured through communication. Nurses can ask about their level of pain l, assist with their needs like feeding and movement, and ensure that the condition of the facility is at its best. In a lot of ways, providing a comfortable environment can ensure that the patient’s healthcare is maximized.
Relief of anxiety
Putting a patient’s care at the forefront can reduce their stress level and eliminate stressors. There are many techniques to ease the anxiety that patients feel during treatments. First, nurses can show concern about their mental health by discussing any immediate or long-term concerns that they may have regarding their treatment. They can also ask about the financial implications that the treatment may have on their personal lives and make suggestions if required. Lastly, emotional support is an aspect of anxiety relief that shouldn’t be overlooked. Nurses can offer patients companionship by listening to their concerns and validating their emotions.
Communication with families
Communicating with families and companions is an important aspect of patient-centered care. A patient-centered care strategy should encourage family members to have a key role in the treatment of the patient. Nurses should encourage them to visit the health care facility to see the patient, offer advice that can ease their decision-making process, and provide emotional support for them during the treatment process. This ensures that family and loved ones of the patient feel like an important part of the treatment system. Nurses should also provide comfortable settings and privacy for them when required and explain treatment plans in the simplest ways possible.
Patients need resources to inform them of their health status and the assistance available to them throughout the process. They may also require personalized resources that best meet their individual needs. Resources are also a good way to keep patients’ minds calm and settled during the treatment process. A patient that is about to undergo surgery may benefit greatly from reading success stories and learning to navigate the process.
Transition to independence
Finally, patient-centered care is not about the treatment phase alone. It also works toward assisting patients in transitioning into independence. This transitioning care comes in various ways and typically includes the provision of vital medical information. A patient must know how to use medications post-treatment, dietary restrictions that they must follow to reduce potential side effects, and the correct exercise routines to maximize the healing process. Nurses may go as far as coordinating treatment programs, routine visitations to their homes and providing all the information required for continuous support. Facilities should ensure that nurse call lines and virtual centers are as accessible as possible.
The role that nurses play in the buildup of patient-centered care
Nurses have a good chance to use patient-centered care while providing treatments for their patients. Their patient-centered duties cover a wide range of activities, and the bottom line is to ensure that patients are always comfortable. So, while administering medication, they need to ensure that it’s done in a way that’s easiest for the patient.
Nurses also need to make certain that there is consistent sharing of progress reports with the patient’s family. Then, the nurse will be in the right position to coordinate treatment plans with other members of the healthcare facility, such as physicians, to ensure that the entirety of the treatment phase is personalized and patient-centric. Here are several ways through which nurses can provide patient-centered care.
Patient-centered care highlights the significance of respect and dignity in the whole healing process. Nurses should consider the specific preferences of their patients, whether they are related to personal values, or spiritual and cultural beliefs. They also need to ensure that the healing process includes comfort preferences, as comfort looks different to everyone. In some hospital settings, provisions are made for elements like music and pet therapy, natural lighting, healing gardens, and other elements that will ensure that patients and their loved ones are surrounded by things that will enhance the healing process.
It is also important to remember that honoring a patient’s cultural and spiritual preferences helps in building mutual trust and respect. Dignified healing consists of listening and adhering to preferences and discussions that have been made. A patient’s thought process may not align with the provision presented to them and as such, it is important to respect their wishes and find treatment options that work well with them.
Patient knowledge and education
Patient-centered care is concerned with treating patients and their loved ones as key partners in the system of delivering care. As a result, nursing professional must learn as much as possible about both parties involved. First, nurses should understand the specifics of their patient’s needs by asking the right questions. Then, they should involve their families and loved ones, particularly in precarious situations, and ensure that everyone understands all that is required. Family involvement should begin from the moment the patient comes in up until discharge and the post-treatment phase.
Understanding all there is to know about a patient also means that nurses put their safety first and prioritize the quality of treatment they deliver. Clinical knowledge and experience are vital elements that ensure that nurses calculate the best possible actions.
Another aspect of patient knowledge that nurses need to pay attention to is informed consent. Thanks to digital technology and information, it has become much easier to communicate with patients and receive their consent on specific matters relating to their treatment. Electronic health records (EHRs) are another vital aspect of advanced patient-centered care that gives prompt access to the medical history of patients. This will lessen the probability of errors and repetition of unnecessary testing procedures.
Keeping track of patient information ensures that the data is accessible when needed and used to improve the quality of treatment offered to patients.
Collaboration and teamwork
The treatment of a patient isn’t solely dependent on the nurse. Rather, it involves everyone, from physicians, lab scientists, surgeons, and other professionals involved in the hospital setting. Hospitals encourage all employees to work together to ensure that the utmost outcome is realized for every patient. All employees need to understand the significance of their roles in the general delivery of patient care and perform at a higher level to achieve this.
Those who work within a healthcare organization that supports a collaborative culture find that it becomes easier to achieve high-quality patient-centered care. This is also beneficial for such organizations as it heightens their satisfaction ratings.
As patient-centered care is beginning to populate the healthcare system, nurses must understand that their role will also be integrated into the changing system. Therefore, there’s a need for nurses to ensure that they are ready for this new wave. When they are ready to extract the big picture and take the next step in their nursing career, an online ABSN from Elmhurst University will give them the tools they need for an exciting career.
The role of the nurse in patient-centered care is primarily to partner with patients and their families and provide care that is coordinated, personalized, and focused on the distinctive preferences and needs of every patient. While there may be some challenges that come with the provision of patient-centered care, particularly within complex healthcare environments, understanding the intricacies makes it easier to navigate. The benefits that come with this approach are truly enormous and nurses must take advantage of them.