Patient- and Family-Centered Care

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the 4th Annual State of Aging conference presented by The Center for the Study of Aging at McDaniel College. The focus of this daylong learning event was patient-centered care across care settings and how it contributes to the well-being of older adults.

Patient- and family-centered care encourages active collaboration and shared decision making between patient, families and care providers to design a personalized plan of care tailored to individual needs and preferences. Key components include care that focuses on physical comfort and emotional well-being, care that is respectful of individual choices, values and cultural traditions, and timely communication so that patients and their families are able to make informed decisions.

I admit that I listened carefully to each of the experts addressing the audience. After all, hospice has been patient centered for decades. Each presentation, however, was eye opening in illustrating how small but significant changes in how care is delivered can make an incredible difference in the experience of patients and those who love them. Whether it is care provided in the hospital, the physician’s office, nursing facility or other setting, the commitment of the staff and leadership to the key components outlined above are impactful.

I learned so much from my colleagues about their efforts and innovations. I returned energized to encourage our team members to articulate how they provide personalized care, to identify opportunities to enhance our program and to embrace the uniqueness of each patient family experience. Tailored care, respectful of your choices and priorities—this is our commitment to you.

Regina Bodnar is the executive director of Carroll Hospice. Originally published in the fall 2018 issue of DASH.

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