What GPs have to say
It’s incredibly rewarding for clinicians to see patients solve problems independently.
Katie ColemanGP and clinical commissioner for Islington Clinical Commissioning Group
I believe that if a person has chosen to address a problem they are more likely to engage with the steps needed to achieve a positive outcome. My responsibility as a GP and commissioner is to support people to do this – helping them to manage their own health and care more effectively.
Healthcare professionals need to change to deliver this more person-centred approach and as a commissioner I would like to see more evidence of this in practice. We are so used to a paternalistic style. It is how we have been taught and what we see in practice, and what many patients expect. I think this creates the biggest challenge for professionals and patients alike.
For example, patients can find it unsettling when they are given the option of making decisions. We may ask, ‘what do you think you should do in this situation?’ and be met with a blank face. However I’ve seen that with the right support, patients relish the chance to have greater involvement in their care.
Seeing patients start to solve problems independently is incredibly rewarding for a clinician. You see patients equipping themselves with skills that will help them manage their health well into the future.
There are professional benefits to a person-centred approach too. I feel I have more rewarding and more collaborative consultations. I also believe my patients have a better experience and will ultimately have better health outcomes.
I really encourage other healthcare professionals to invest time in understanding and adopting a person-centred approach. A small time investment at the outset will reap benefits in the long term.
What patients have to say
Person-centred care has given me control of my 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.