The Rise of Person-Centred Care in the British NHS
Since its inception in 1948, the NHS has undergone numerous transformations. One of the most significant paradigm shifts in recent times has been its move towards a more person-centred care approach. This transition champions the values, preferences, and needs of patients, ensuring that care is not only clinically excellent but also personally relevant.
The Essence of Person-Centred Care
Person-centred care can be traced back to the humanistic philosophy, where the individual’s experience is paramount. In the context of healthcare, it ensures that patients are partners in their care, with their experiences and values being acknowledged and integrated.
Why the Shift?
Multiple factors contributed to this shift:
- Patient Advocacy: Patient groups and communities have been vocal about the need to be involved in decisions concerning their health. They demanded a change from being passive recipients to active partners.
- Evidence-Based Benefits: Studies have shown that when patients are engaged and involved, health outcomes are better, and there can be a decrease in healthcare costs due to reduced hospital readmissions and fewer medical errors.
- Technological Advancements: With the rise of digital health records, wearable technologies, and health apps, there's been an empowerment of patients to monitor and manage their own health.
Implementation in the NHS
In the NHS, person-centred care has manifested in multiple ways:
- Shared Decision Making: This involves clinicians and patients working together to select tests, treatments, management, or support packages, based on clinical evidence and the patient’s informed preferences.
- Patient Feedback Systems The NHS seeks feedback through various mechanisms like the Friends and Family Test, ensuring that patient voices are heard and used to improve services.
- Tailored Care Plans: Personalised care and support plans are developed in partnership with patients, ensuring that the care they receive is tailored to their unique needs and circumstances. Help at Hand is a vital tool for social prescribers and link workers to achieve this.
While the shift towards person-centred care is promising, it is not without challenges:
- Clinician Training: Not all healthcare professionals have been trained in person-centred care approaches. Continuous professional development is needed.
- Resource Constraints: With the NHS often under financial strain, delivering truly personalised care to every patient can be a challenge.
- Balancing Clinical Best Practice with Patient Preference: There may be instances where what a patient wants might not align with clinical recommendations. Striking the right balance is crucial.
The Future of Person-Centred Care in the NHS
The momentum towards person-centred care in the NHS is undeniable. As the healthcare landscape evolves with technological advancements and changing societal expectations, the NHS's commitment to integrating the patient voice will remain paramount.
At Help at Hand we take our role in facilitating this revolution across the NHS very seriously. 1000s of patients across the UK are already benefiting from the suite of Help at Hand tools provided to medical professionals. The Help at Hand app, combined with Patient Case Manager, will drive the empowerment of the individual when it comes to deciding on the best care pathway for their unique needs.
To learn more about Help at Hand and our suite of tools to support person-centred care, contact the Help at Hand team on [email protected] or call us on 0330 133 4640.