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The NSPA Blog

Patient-Centered Care: Fact or Fiction?

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Posted on November 29th, 2017 by Teri Dreher, under Healthcare Reform, Patient Advocacy, Take Charge

Patient-Center Care is the new best practice

As 2017 comes to its end, almost all of us have heard about the shift in US healthcare to patient-centered care. It makes sense, too. In today’s fractured healthcare landscape, care should be all about the patient! Patient-centered care leads to better health outcomes and many times, drives down medical costs. Just because health systems and care organizations have gotten wind of the term, though, are we really seeing it in practice?

A closer look:

If patient-centered care had been fully realized, and I mean really well established, there would be almost no need for my profession. I would love to be out of a job for this reason, but unfortunately, this is not yet the case. Day after day I speak with patients who have gotten lost, or even abandoned, in the healthcare system.They express confusion, anger and a sense of betrayal by providers who spend less time with them. Doctors interact with computers, computers interact with nurses, and case managers and insurers send out statements and advice. No one is speaking to the patient, or more importantly, really hearing what they are desperate to tell us. Everyone wants to be heard and treated like a human being deserving of respect and dignity. Honestly, that’s why people reach out to us: they are confused, angry or frustrated with what US healthcare has become. We become a trusted family consultant and guide for those who do not have the benefit of having a medical professional in their family.

 

How do we get there?

Manage Your ReactionIf we really want to achieve patient-centered care, we still need to do a better job of LISTENING. A recent client of ours had this to say: “I hate having to go to the hospital! My own doctor cannot come and see me there and so many different faces come into my room, I do not know who is who. They must not be talking to each other either because they all ask me the same questions….and always running out the door as fast as they can before I can remember to ask my own questions. I get woken up 3-4 times a night. I am so exhausted, and all I want to do is sleep!” These complaints are not uncommon, even in the best of hospitals today.

 

It’s not out of reach

Patient-centered care isn’t a fact of practice yet, but it’s also not fiction. It is a well-intentioned goal, but certainly not a reality to most patients today. As we prepare for 2018, let’s all challenge ourselves to make it happen.

With over 36 years of clinical experience in Critical Care nursing, home based health care and expertise as a cardiovascular nurse clinician, Teri is well acquainted with the complexities of the modern healthcare system. She has served as a nursing leader, mentor, educator, and consistent patient advocate throughout her career in some of the best hospitals across the country. Her passion to keep the patient at the center of the model of nursing care led her to incorporate NShore Patient Advocates, LLC in 2011, serving clients throughout the northern suburbs of Chicago.

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