Susan E. Mazer, Ph.D. Blog

Thoughts and ideas on healthcare

Hi, and welcome to my blog! I'm Susan E. Mazer -- a knowledge expert and thought leader on how the environment of care impacts the patient experience. Topics I write about include safety, satisfaction, hospital noise, nursing, care at the bedside, and much more.

One Size Fits All Doesn’t Work for Patient Centered Care

October 3, 2014

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-nurse-talking-to-patient-image6430567While Planetree is now broadly known, its earliest roots in the patient experience movement came long before our current era of HCAHPS. Founded in 1978, Planetree introduced the world to patient centered care by handing the power of healing back to the patient — an idea that has now taken root in so many different ways.

The complexity that is now patient centered care began with the simplicity that Planetree states in one sentence: “care should be organized first and foremost around the needs of patients.” It would seem obvious, but even today, there are so many issues that the patient gets lost in all of it.

But, perhaps nothing is more critical than the provider-patient relationship, which is finally breaking away from the traditional paternalistic model.  Patient compliance is yielding to patient participation. Patient-centered decisions require that the provider respect and support patients and their families rather than dictate to them.

The design of the physical environment is also central to patient centered care. But all to often, it, too gets lost in a sea of rules and regulations.

Technology informs hospital room configurations. Other issues, such as infection control, become the driving force behind furniture and materials design. Electrical safety informs where the television and lights are placed.  And, after that, comes the patient.

The shift from putting patients into a pre-existing one-size-fits-all hospital room to one that serves and anticipates their needs is happening.  However, the job is hardly done.

There are ample models of patient centered design — even a nonprofit organization that promotes it.  And yet many hospital administrators still worry more about the capital budget rather than look at how to improve the design of the patient units and rooms so that they better support both patients and staff.

The budget is the budget. What really matters at the bedside cannot be written into or out of any financial document.

I’m looking forward to attending and speaking at the 2014 Planetree International Conference on Patient Centered Care this month in Chicago. It’s a unique event, because it brings together Planetree affiliate hospitals whose mission and goals are similar, thought-leaders who are sharing their knowledge, and patients whose experiences offer invaluable insights to inform the future.

Dr. Jean Watson, in Nursing: Human Science and Human Care, a Theory of Nursing (1985), stated best the deep intention of patient centered care:

“[The] human-to-human connection [that defines patient-centered care] expands our compassion and caring and keeps alive our common humanity. All of this process deepens and sustains our shared humanity and helps to avoid reducing another human being to the moral status of object.”

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