Patient care is constantly evolving as new techniques and practices keep coming into play. In the modern era, one of the most used methods of care is care that is patient centered. This is where patients are encouraged to take much more of an active role in managing their health, which means they are given more independence and are much more likely to stick to their treatment plans as a result. This article will look into more detail about the benefits of patient-centered treatment and how you can best implement it into the way that you care for patients.
What Are the Benefits of Patient Independence?
There are a range of benefits to patient-centered care. The primary goal of incorporating it into treatment is to improve the individual health outcomes rather than having a focus on the population’s health outcomes. Although, strictly speaking, when using patient-centered care the population outcomes may also improve. The other benefits that can come from patient-centered care and encouraging patient independence include:
- Improved satisfaction scores among both patients and also their families.
- Enhancing the reputation of health care providers among heath care consumers.
- The improved allocation of resources.
- They can reduce the expenses and increase financial margins throughout the continuum of care.
- Improved sense of morale and better productivity among clinicians and ancillary staff.
It’s because of these benefits that more and more care homes across the country are beginning to encourage patient independence and use patient-centered care. Take for example Belmont Village Senior Living, which is an Atlanta retirement community. Here, patients are encouraged to work independently as much as they are comfortable, and get help as and when they need it. This results in more engagement with treatment and an all-round happier patient experience.
How Can You Encourage Patient Independence?
There are a number of different ways that you can encourage patient independence. These include:
- Emphasize the Partnership
For years, patients were told exactly what they needed to do by healthcare providers, having very little input into what their own treatment and treatment plan would consist of as a result. Times have changed now and we realize how important it is for both doctors, nursing staff and other team members to work closely with their patients in order to develop a plan of care.
By engaging in a partnership with a patient, there are a lot of benefits as it will result in better outcomes, fewer hospitalizations, an improved relationship with providers and better satisfaction levels all around.
- Use Motivational Interviewing
Motivational interviewing is an incredibly effective way to empower patients and encourage them to make changes and improve upon their health and quality of life as a result. By using this technique, patients are asked a series of different open-ended questions that will allow them to express their fears and concerns. When in the interview, staff members will also provide the patient with information as well as a lot of support and encouragement.
A lot of places use the anagram DARN CAT. This makes it very easy to remember the key aspects of motivational interviewing. It can be broken down as follows:
- D – Desire – Why is it that you actually want to make a change?
- A – Ability – How do you think you can make the change?
- R – Reasons – What benefits do you expect to realize after you have made the change you would like to make?
- N – Need – How important is this change to you?
- C – Commitment – What can you do in order to commit to the change?
- A – Activation – What are you going to do in order to make the change and when is it that you actually plan on starting?
- T – Taking steps – What are the changes that you have already made in your life?
- Provide the Patient with Useful Information
A lot of patients are incredibly enthusiastic to read anything that they can about their disease or condition, but then there are others who will take information in one ear and let it flood out of the other. These are the same patients who are going to throw brochures away before they’re out the door and not return phone calls, either. As such, you are going to need to provide useful information to a patient in a way that is engaging to them – this could be through videos, infographics and other means as patients retain information in a number of different ways.
Ensure that if your patients are doing their own research that they are looking in the right places. The internet is writhe with so-called experts these days and you do not want them turning up to treatment with their head filled of false information. It is always good if a patient is proactive, but they also need to be getting their additional information from reliable and valid sources.
- Make It Easy
When patients are given the chance to make their own choices when it comes to care, they are more than likely not going to tell you what they want and it will be them instead simply saying what they think you want to hear. For example, during a motivational interview, an overweight patient might start saying that they intend on starting an intense diet and exercise program as a means to lose weight. While this is good, they will struggle to jump straight into the deep end like that and will likely need to take on a goal that is more attainable.
It is a good idea to tell a patient that they should start with a goal that is a lot more achievable and then work up. Using the same example, this goal could be along the lines of walking for 30 minutes everyday. This will allow them to feel empowered and encourage them to keep going, but it is also an aim that they are likely going to be able to achieve. Once these initial goals are met, they will then be able to begin creating new ones.