Person-centered, or patient-centered care, is a way of thinking and doing things that sees the people using services as equal partners in planning, developing and monitoring care to make sure it meets their needs. Care focuses on the person’s problem and their unique strengths, not the diagnosis.
The Institute of Medicine defines patient-centered care as “Providing care that is respectful of, and responsive to, individual patient preferences, needs and values, and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.” Person-centered care expands the focus of care to include both person-centered and disease focused outcomes. It goes beyond traditional treatment topics to include issues such as physical health, relationships, employment, education, spirituality, housing, recreation, and community.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, most definitions of patient-centered care have several common elements that affect the way health systems and facilities are designed and managed, and the way care is delivered:
- The health care system’s mission, vision, values, leadership, and quality-improvement drivers are aligned to patient-centered goals.
- Care is collaborative, coordinated, and accessible. The right care is provided at the right time and the right place.
- Care focuses on physical comfort as well as emotional well-being.
- Patient and family preferences, values, cultural traditions, and socioeconomic conditions are respected.
- Patients and their families are an expected part of the care team and play a role in decisions at the patient and system level.
- The presence of family members in the care setting is encouraged and facilitated.
- Information is shared fully and in a timely manner so that patients and their family members can make informed decisions.