Patient Centred Care: What It Is and What It Means to the NHS

5 Minute Read

Patient centred care plays a pivotal role in raising patient satisfaction and shaping the patient experience. It puts patients at the forefront of their plans, considering more than just their health diagnosis by understanding their preferences.

The NHS has been vocal about the importance of patient centred care. However, it’s a concept all health facilities must adopt to reach changing expectations and meet the population's evolving needs and healthcare facilities.

 

What Is Patient Centred Care?

As its name suggests, patient centred care revolves around the patient. Considering an individual’s perspective, beliefs and values to deliver quality health care services, patient centred care balances this with striving for the most positive and effective outcome. 

Although it’s difficult to provide a definitive explanation of patient centred health care, it’s a widely accepted concept across the industry, acknowledged by the NHS and informing health care practice across private and public Trusts. 

Patient centred care can be characterised by its eight principles, which are:

  • Respect for patients’ preferences
  • Coordination and integration of care
  • Information and education 
  • Physical comfort
  • Emotional support
  • Involvement of family and friends
  • Continuity and transition 
  • Access to care

 


 

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A platform with features that increase access to care through immediate connection to telephony services, connecting patients with family and friends, as well as educational and entertainment materials through a personal or ward-provided device.

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Benefits of Patient Centred Care

The benefits of patient centred care are extensive, bettering both the patient and practitioner experience. While patient centred care enriches the patient experience as its primary benefit, it can also improve efficiencies for health care staff, make the provision of services more rewarding and help facilities reach readmission targets. 

For patients, the benefits are endless. However, a few of those with the most impact include: 


  • Greater satisfaction with a hospital stay, including more meaningful interactions, a heightened understanding of diagnosis, continual care and a care plan that aligns with their preferences
  • Appropriate education and support to assist with the transition between hospital and home care, which includes independent management of long-term diagnoses and lifestyle factors patients can adopt to reduce the risk of readmission
  • More efficient provision of care, allowing patients to be seen faster, receiving only the information and assessment integral to their case. In this vein, patient centred care often elevates the perceived professionalism of healthcare teams
  • Easier access to health care services and supporting materials, meaning patients can independently research credible sources and have ownership of their personal healthcare documents

 

Examples of Patient Centred Care

One example of patient centred care is careful consultation surrounding patient preferences. Before treatment or a care plan commences, a patient centred care approach sees interaction and involvement of the patient to outline choices which may impact the approach, medication and nature of such plans. 

For example, religious preferences, moral values, previous experiences and even dietary requirements may all have a role in crafting a patient-centred health care plan that meets all the physical and emotional criteria of a patient. 

Long-established research surrounding this topic supports the act of considering patient preferences, finding: “If nurses, physicians and health care planners knew more about patients’ health-related preferences, care would most likely be cheaper, more effective and closer to the individuals’ desires.”

 


 

Are you also passionate about improving the patient experience and driving patient centred care? Join our Special Interest Group (SIG), an exclusive forum for healthcare professionals leading the way in patient experience.

 

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Another clear example of patient centred care is the provision of patient experience platforms available via bedside terminals or via WiFi on a personal device. Patient experience platforms encapsulate all of the patient centred experience principles, providing entertainment and education services simultaneously. 

Software such as that provided by WiFi SPARK enables a platform for: 

  • Preferences to be logged and adhered to (in cases such as digital meal ordering)
  • Aiding coordination and integration of care with pre-recorded educational resources
  • Directly influencing information and education engagement with convenient ways of learning
  • Providing comfort through familiar entertainment channels and telephony services
  • Gaining emotional support from family and friends with video calling functions, even in times when visitors can’t be present
  • Involving parties close to the patient at every step of the care process with various options for communication 
  • Preparing the patient for continued care and the transition from hospital to home with patient surveys, helpful resources and documents all in one place
  • Opening up the access to care, making digital forms of care available around the clock

 

Throughout both of these examples, patient centred care relates to any scenario where the patient is considered, not just in terms of their diagnosis but as it relates to them.

 

How the NHS Adopts Patient Centred Care Values

The NHS, in many ways, leads the way in patient centred care, taking the involvement of patients in care seriously. This is shown in the NHS Five Year Forward View plan, which focuses on improving several areas of care, including: 

  • Treatment outcomes and promotion of independence in the ageing population 
  • Improving the capacity of emergency and urgent care
  • Filling service gaps relating to mental health
  • Increasing investment in areas of neglect, including those with severe mental illnesses and new mothers
  • Accelerating a collaborative way of working, where the patient has a greater say in their care

 

The Five Year Forward View is a large and ambitious plan. However, it’s largely bound by the idea of patient centred care, naming it as an individual priority but also relying on it to address the other problems on its agenda. For example, the ageing population can benefit from patient-centred care, allowing them to make independent choices regarding their changing needs.

 

How Patient Centred Care Can Be Improved in the NHS and Beyond

Although the NHS is actively engaged in providing and improving patient-centred care, every facility, including those privately owned, has room to improve. Possibly the most immediate improvement is to realise the benefits of bedside terminals and the provision of free entertainment and education

We touched on earlier in this article that patient experience platforms have a huge impact on patient experience, including how involved patients feel throughout their admission. Now, bedside terminals already installed across the country have been acquired by the UK’s largest healthcare WiFi partner to bring this provision closer to home. 

In our latest webinar, WiFi SPARK’s CEO Matt O’Donovan outlines how, in as little as three years, patients across the UK could enjoy free and unlimited access to standard entertainment and education, transforming the role of the patient for good. 

Watch the recording and better understand the acquisition set to change the face of the patient experience by clicking on the banner below.

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