What hospital doctors have to say
Remembering what it is like to be a patient is the starting point to delivering person-centred care.
Martin WilkieConsultant renal physician, Sheffield Teaching Hospital
One way or another we are all patients. Remembering what it is like to be a patient is the starting point to delivering person-centred care. This approach will help us create motivating experiences for patients.
Management of long-term conditions is a good example of a situation in which a patient can quickly feel disengaged. Many long-term conditions have different components to them that require patients to attend several outpatient appointments. In general, these appointments are made without taking the patient’s lifestyle and other commitments into consideration. Often the appointments will clash. The patient is then faced with the frustrating burden of contacting different departments to reschedule appointments. I’ve seen first-hand how this fairly simple issue can lead to a patient’s care going downhill.
Person-centred care enables and empowers patients to take a greater role in their care. This approach can transform a patient’s experience; they become an active participant in their treatment and care. It means that patients are equipped with the information, skills and support to take control of their health. We must help patients so that they can articulate their requirements. This is far better than second-guessing what they need and want.
I have heard many patients talk about the positive impact that taking a greater role in their own care has had on them. This is evidence enough for me that a person-centred approach works.
What patients have to say
Person-centred care has given me control of my long-term conditions.
Trevor CritchleyPerson living with long-term conditions
I have not one, but several long-term conditions and endure the associated pain, depression and fatigue. Learning about person-centred care has led me to take more responsibility for my health. I now manage my conditions in a better way.
I have learned several practical ways to utilise person-centred care. For example, when I attend a consultation with a healthcare professional I come prepared with a list of things that I want to discuss. I also ask to talk through targets and goals which feel realistic and desirable to me.
This style of consultation seems entirely logical to me. A patient brings their day-to-day experience of living with one or more conditions to the consultation and can then benefit from a healthcare professional’s background and knowledge. I feel my consultations are more productive and that I have a more collaborative relationship with the healthcare professionals I meet with. I feel I am being listened to and we work together to find solutions to my problems.
Sometimes this approach does require a change from the healthcare professional. They need to be prepared to revolve around the patient’s needs and be comfortable letting you take a role in finding solutions.
My increased confidence and knowledge has enabled me to make decisions I wouldn’t have been able to previously. For example, I no longer take insulin for my type 2 diabetes. I found it very restrictive and I now manage the condition by leading a healthier lifestyle.
Being more involved and proactive in my health has been hugely beneficial to me. I feel far more positive about my health as I am in control of my conditions rather than them controlling me.