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Patient and Family-Centered Care: Positive and Negative Effects

Patient and family-centered care were brought to the fore in the 1980-90s. Notably, this approach has proved to have many positive effects as it contributed to the rise of patients’ satisfaction. However, this method also has certain negative outcomes. Fortunately, these negative effects can be diminished. Therefore, health care organizations need to develop some strategies to address the issues.

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Remarkably, this method is now quite popular as many surveys suggest that patients’ satisfaction grows (Transforming Safety Net Clinics, 2010). Now health care specialists agree that family support and interactions between patients and their families, and interactions between patients’ families and health care professionals positively affect the process of healing.

Patients can feel the support of their families. Besides, many health care professionals report that when this approach is used, family members do not ask many questions as they usually obtain information (concerning patients’ general state, etc.) from patients. These positive effects make the method quite popular among health care organizations.

Nonetheless, this approach has negative effects as well. One of the major negative effects of the method is staff stress. Nurses are majorly affected. Many nurses report that they are often asked too many questions. However, due to poor communication between health care professionals, they are often unable to answer family members’ questions (Davidson et al., 2007).

Another problem is concerned with diversity. Admittedly, now patients come from different cultural backgrounds. Firstly, the language gap contributes to poor communication. Secondly, health care professionals often have problems because of cultural differences.

Fortunately, these issues can be addressed. Admittedly, health care organizations should take these issues into account. The major problem to address is that of poor communication. First, it is essential to develop proper channels of communication. In the first place, health care professionals should communicate effectively. Thus, it can be effective to create specific teams. These teams should include all professionals who participate in this or that cycle (nurses, surgeons, etc.).

These teams should be quite fixed. Of course, these teams should include people who work in different shifts. Importantly, these teams should have daily meetings where they can discuss the most urgent issues and share information. Thus, when a patient gets to the hospital, he is ‘assigned’ to a team. Thus, health care professionals will be able to communicate properly. Of course, patients’ relatives should know people they can address to learn more about the patients’ health, treatment, etc. Family members should be aware of the specific hours when they can see the patient.

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Davidson et al. (2007, p. 609) note that it is important to “identify a family spokesperson” who will make decisions. Even these measures can significantly improve communication. As far as cultural and linguistic differences are concerned, it is possible to handle this problem rather easily. Thus, training can help to address this problem. Healthcare professionals should be aware of the cultural peculiarities of different nations. Of course, it can be effective to pay special attention to specific groups (Asians, Hispanics, etc.) in areas where these groups prevail. Of course, health care units should have translators nowadays.

However, it can be also effective to encourage healthcare professionals to learn other languages. Again, training can be helpful. Obviously, these measures can remove negative outcomes of patient and family-centered care. Thus, this method can become more effective and more applicable in many healthcare units.

Reference List

Davidson, J.E., Powers, K., Hedayat, K.M., Tieszen, M., Kon, A.A., Shepard, E., Spuhler, V., Todres I.D., Levy, M., Barr, J., Ghandi, R., Hirsch, G. Armstrong, D. (2007). Clinical practice guidelines for support of the family in the patient-centered intensive care unit: American College of Critical Care Medicine Task Force 2004 –2005. Critical Care Medicine, 35(2), 605-622.

Transforming Safety Net Clinics into Patient-Centered Medical Homes. (2010). Patient-centered interactions: Part 1: Measuring patient experience. Web.

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