Putting Patients First
HealthFebruary 06, 2018

Putting patients first

5 ways facilities can benefit from patient-centered care

A patient-centered approach to nursing focuses on the patient's personal needs, wants, desires, and goals so that the individual becomes central to the care and nursing process. This can mean putting the patient's needs, as they define them, above those identified as priorities by health care professionals.

Defining patient-centered nursing

Some key components of patient-centered care include:

  • knowing the patient as an individual
  • being responsive
  • providing care that is meaningful
  • respecting the individual’s values, preferences, and needs
  • fostering trusting caregiving relationships
  • emphasizing freedom of choice
  • promoting physical and emotional comfort
  • involving the person’s family and friends.

The importance of life stories

In order to achieve patient-centered care, nurses need to understand the biographies of patients and their families. Person-centered care is achieved by taking a strong interest in the patient’s own experience of health, illness, injury, or need. Nurses must work with the patient's definition of the situation, as well as that presented through a medical or other diagnosis.

Paying attention to the life stories and experiences of patients is the only way nurses will get to know their patients and their goals for the future. Achieving this can be challenging, as it requires time to listen and talk.

Five Rewards

More than a trend, industry experts and policy advocates support person-centered care as a strategy that benefits the entire healthcare system.

There is no doubt that the model benefits patients who become more empowered and receive better care. But patient-centered care can also positively impact hospitals’ bottom lines.

  • Better financial performance. A hospital system that is guided by the needs of patients and families becomes more efficient. Patient-centered care actively engages all stakeholders and leads to decreased overall expenses. It reduces waste of material and staff resources because of fewer process delays, maximizing patient educational efforts, and decreasing diagnostic tests and referrals. Patient and family engagement obtained through a more patient-centered care system consistently improves hospital performance and business outcomes.
  • Improve market share. Patients are becoming well informed about patient-centered care and seek hospitals that employ such a system. They expect higher quality service and more value. Patient-centered hospitals therefore gain competitive advantage over those that stick to using traditional methods.
  • Increase employee satisfaction. Hospitals implementing a more patient-centered approach successfully improve employee satisfaction and retention. A more efficient system decreases employee burnout, improves staff relationships, and enhances patient-caretaker interactions. Improved retention contributes to high-quality staff, less training costs, and decreased expenses due to inefficient practices.
  • Boost your hospital's ranking. The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey, a ranking of the best hospitals in the country, incorporates many patient-centered measures in its survey form. It has metrics on patient-provider communication, quality of relationship, effective pain medication system, sufficient discharge information, and improved patient health outcomes.
  • Advance patient health outcomes. Patients receiving person-centered care are happier, more satisfied, heal more quickly, are in less pain, and stay healthier. It improves quality of life.

Adopting truly patient-centered care is a key objective for the nursing profession. To achieve this nurses need the right level of knowledge, skills and experience. If clinical success can be balanced with a profitable business model, patient-centered care is a win-win strategy.

How do you practice patient-centered nursing care at your organization?  Leave us a comment below.

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