Although patient centered care and person centered care both have a resident’s best interests in mind, they do have some differences that set them apart. In this week’s post, we’ll be looking at the differences between patient-centered care and person-centered care including what each means, and some of their key distinctions.
Each of these avenues of care is important in its own right, but it’s important to note their differences. With patient-centered care, an individual’s overall physical health and health needs are at the forefront of any care they receive, but this is really only half of the equation. Person-centered care is based on the accumulated knowledge of people including both their personal and medical histories. We’re seeing a pull in the direction of person-centered care as an opportunity to view the seniors in our care more holistically, applying personal knowledge of each individual to the care they receive.
Longevity of Care
One of the most prominent factors in distinguishing these methods of care is its longevity. Treatment that centers more around a person’s symptoms and diagnoses can be intermittent or be short-term. Seeing people as patients can depersonalize them in order to maximize efficiency: find out what’s wrong, fix it, move on to the next. The reason the senior living space is pushing for more individualized care is to factor the actual person back into caregiving.
Personalized care often takes longer than patient-centered care, yes, but there are merits in establishing a relationship with our seniors. This allows caregivers to tie together someone’s physical health with their mental health, social health, and history: “A major failure of primary care… is the great underestimation of the importance of long-term relationships with patients.” (Starfield, 2011)
Additionally, care specific to each individual offers insights into the overall well-being of someone in your community. Taking into consideration all aspects of a person is crucial; this means their personal history and health as well as a general understanding of who they are. This is especially important as older adults sometimes have to maneuver from one health problem to another. A cumulative view of a senior’s health, rather than a snapshot, is much more effective at offering the attention they need.
Individual, long-term care is commonly praised for its impacts on both seniors and staff. While patient-centered care can offer an environment for relationship building, it’s more likely that a stronger connection would develop between residents and caregivers that offer individual attention: “Patient-centered care also aims to improve clinical practice by building caring relationships that bridge demographic, social, and economic differences between clinicians and patients” (Epstein, 2010).
Not only is building relationships with your residents beneficial for their overall health, connecting staff with them helps to reduce staff turnover. There’s a positive feedback loop between person-centered care and the prosperity of a given community: look at residents holistically to offer better care, build stronger relationships between staff and seniors, have caregivers stay in their communities longer.
There are a lot of buzzwords and trends surfacing in the senior living space, but the reason we have to keep this conversation active is so we can continue to push for higher standards, better care, and happier people; staff, seniors, and families alike. Keeping up with our resident’s health is imperative, but seeing the whole person can help have positive impacts on the care that they receive.