A person’s health is not only one of the most important aspects of their life, it is also very personal. When a person has any issues with their health, they should feel that they are put first when seeking the advice of a healthcare professional. Patient centred care is important so a patient feels that they understand, as well as have a say in, their own healthcare. To do this, there must be effective communication and shared decision making between patients and healthcare professionals.
For a patient to understand what’s affecting their health, their needs to be effective communication between a patient and their healthcare provider. Not only should a physician, for example, clearly explain a patient’s health issues to them so they are clear about their ailment, they should also be clear about the risks of treatment options so the patient can make an informed decision. It’s also important for the physician to communicate with the patient about their lifestyle, to consider what treatment options are the best fit for the patient’s life. This allows the patient to feel confident that they are making the best decisions about their health, and that the physician also respects the patient, and seeks what will work for them, instead of a one size fits all approach to their health.
Once a patient understands their condition, and has all of the information to make an informed decision about treatment options, a physician (or other healthcare professional) must share in deciding which treatment to pursue. After a physician has presented the patient with information about the illness, the treatment options should be presented with the risks, benefits, and evidence of success to aid the patient in making the right choice. Nothing should be withheld to attempt to coerce the patient towards a particular treatment. The physician must instead respect what the patient chooses to do based on the information presented. In doing so, a physician shows regard for the patient’s values, treatment preferences and goals, which in turn builds a good rapport between the patient and the healthcare professional.
Patient centred care puts a patient first when they are dealing with issues affecting their own health. It is important that a patient can feel confident that they understand what is going on with their body, as well as the reasons for various treatment options, which are tailored to their individual needs, through effective communication with their healthcare provider. It is also important that a healthcare provider helps a patient make an informed decision about treatment, but lets the decision ultimately be the patient’s, and respects the patient’s choice of treatment. Patient centred care not only builds good relationships between patients and healthcare providers, but also helps patients feel they have control over their own well-being.