Patient-centered care is a term that is used liberally throughout the healthcare industry and yet, there is still a long way to go as we listen to our patients. I’ve learned the true meaning of patient-centered care from hospice.
Over the past several years I’ve shared stories of my sister Elizabeth’s long health battles and her perceptions of care in multiple acute care and sub-acute care settings. Last night she shared some insight worth passing along. It was about control.
Elizabeth shared that, as a patient, she has had very little control. Understandably, to keep her alive and safe in both acute, and sub-acute settings, she had to do some things their way. Don’t eat this. Don’t try to get up alone. Don’t sit too long. This is the time we need to wake you for treatments. This is what we’re going to do. This is what you can eat. She continually felt that as a patient, she had little choice and that things were done to her, not with her. Everything changed four days ago when she went on hospice.
After 21 months of hospitalizations and a two month stint in a nursing home, she is now in her own home on hospice. And for the first time in 21 months she is in control. The focus is now on what she wants and, knowing we have little time, there is no arguing about her wishes. She is finally having it her way. And we all agree it’s time to be truly patient-centered.