• Rick Sheninger

Providing Patient-Centered Care

The healthcare industry has always been a competitive one. More people are demanding affordable rates and better care, while insurance companies continue to raise their premiums. There is room for improvement in the way things have worked for years, but it’s not going to happen overnight. Health systems must implement patient-centered approaches by leading with empathy and understanding to improve access and delivery of quality treatment options.

Back in 2018, there was such an effort. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) strategy was built on one main goal: Put People First. A major effort took place to revamp a model that so heavily promoted “volume of care” as opposed to “value of care”. Eligible SNFs had begun the process of being awarded value-based incentive payments for the quality of Care they give to people with Medicare. Patient-Centered Care has always been a part of Bencura’s health delivery culture, now others are taking suite.

Here are ways we feel the healthcare system can demonstrate patient-centered care:

1. Listen to the patient

2. Treat the whole person, not just their illness

3. Offer emotional support and empathy

4. Ask questions about what is important to them, including their values and goals for care

5. Involve family members in decisions about care when possible

6. Healthcare Providers eliminate providing a “SILO” approach to care

1. Putting the patient's needs first

We believe that the patient should always be at the center of all healthcare. More importantly, we believe in empowering patients with information so they can make informed decisions regarding their health and wellness. Our philosophy is simple: If you take care of your health first, everything else will fall into place. We're on a mission to help everyone live healthier lives both within our practice, as well as by providing trusted medical knowledge and resources through our blog articles and social media posts. We understand, and embrace, the fact that patients' needs come first, and we practice it daily.

2. Treating patients with dignity and respect

For healthcare professionals, it is important that patients are treated with dignity and respect. We have the right to expect this treatment from our doctor, or caregiver, in order to help promote positive outcomes throughout our care journey. Our perception of how we are being treated is essential for our mental state - if we are provided an environment that allows us to feel at ease and be more likely to open up about any fears or concerns we may be experiencing, as well as being more compliant when it comes time for treatments and tests. One way that health care providers can ensure patients are being treated with dignity and respect is with open communication, which brings us to...

3. Communicate clearly and honestly with patients

Whether an experienced doctor or novice, it doesn’t matter. Communicating clearly and honestly with patients is essential to building trust as a healthcare provider. It can also help prevent misunderstandings about instructions for medications and other treatment that is needed after leaving the office.

Doctors and other medical professionals obviously have a lot of knowledge about the human body, but communicating with patients, in a way we can understand, can prove challenging. Sometimes we may be more prone to anxiety or fear when going in for an examination; other times, we may feel embarrassed about sharing personal information. To make any conversation easier and more natural, it is important for health care providers to remember that the goal is to help patients understand what we are being told.

Communicating with patients is one of the most important components of health care. As patients, we will recall how we were treated more often than any other factor in our decision making process. Treating patients respectfully, communicating clearly and honestly, and being respectful are all ways to ensure that we feel valued and appreciated. There are several different ways that doctors can improve how they communicate so patients understand what’s expected of them regarding health and lifestyle changes, including...

4. Provide information in a way that is easy for patients to understand

When you go to the doctor's office, have you ever had trouble understanding what your doctor is saying? You're not alone. It's a common problem that can lead to a misdiagnosis and delayed care. Patients often ask their doctors for information about their conditions so they can better understand how best to manage them at home.

As a patient, there is enough to worry about. The last thing you need is for your doctor to use confusing jargon that makes it difficult to track how well the treatment plan is working. As long as they are using terms that are clear and understandable, it doesn’t matter if they aren’t used in common everyday language, as long as the uncommon words are explained.

Some people have a hard time understanding what their doctor is saying. We’ve all heard the phrase “doctor speak,” which refers to medical professionals using terminology that is either too difficult for lay people or too easy (i.e., condescending). The problem frequently occurs when patients are diagnosed with chronic illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. These diseases require treatment over long periods of time, often many years; but patients aren’t always offered enough information in language they can understand.

5. Be supportive of the patient's family members

When a loved one is sick, family members often feel helpless and lost. They may not know what to do or how to help. Sometimes they might even be afraid that their presence will make everything worse. Regardless of the state of mind your loved ones are in, it’s important for them to know that if they need anything at all—they can ask you for it.

It is important to remember that the patient's family members are also going through a traumatic experience. As long as they are made to feel comfortable, and can get help to understand what will be happening next, they will not have as much to worry about.

6. Provide an interdisciplinary approach to care

All said and done, every facet of a patient-centered care approach mentioned thus far, comes to it’s method of delivery, within an interdisciplinary approach to care. When a loved one is admitted to a Hospital or SNF, an interdisciplinary team approach facilitates a more comprehensive plan of care, promoting better patient outcomes. Patients/Families and their Healthcare Providers can immediately engage in a dialogue to cohesively develop that “patient-centered” treatment plan. In addition, Healthcare providers are able to develop a medical, rehabilitation, dietary and pharmaceutical road map designed to meet patient-centered goals. A “SILO” approach to patient care does not work, when operating under a patient-centered or better yet, a “Person-Centered” approach. One concept for a Person-Centered approach is clear --- focusing on both your patient and your patient’s team in tandem is critical. Gather your team, it will make a difference in how it makes your patient feel and recovery.

It can be hard to know what to do when a family member or friend is ill. But, there are several ways you can help them feel better and more comfortable during their hospital stay. For instance, patients who have visitors often heal faster than those who don't. Talking with your loved one about their anxiety levels could also help shorten the duration of their stay in the hospital. If they're nervous about an upcoming surgery, for example, reassure them that everything will be fine, provided it’s true.

We hope you find this information useful. We are strong proponents of patient centered care, and our patients have come to rely on us for honest, clear communication, and structured programs that promote positive outcomes. For more information about our therapy services, you can visit our website, We would love to hear from you, whether to help answer your questions, or to discuss how we help our patients recover from injuries or illnesses.

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