Today, there is a movement to ensure the patient is the center of the healthcare team. As a seasoned healthcare professional, I took this for granted and it was not until I was a patient that I really understood why this is so important. It was then that I realized that the concept has not been widely adopted in our complex system. Today, reimbursement by payers such as Medicare and commercial insurers are pushing this concept and providing incentives for providers and organizations to ensure that this culture change is put into practice. Providers and organizations that do not focus on patients and their needs often pay penalties.
As you read along think about your own team and how they were or have been influential in your care. Ask yourself some questions:
- Did you feel comfortable talking with the members of your team and learning about your condition/plan of care?
- Did you feel that you received answers that helped you participate in your own plan of care as a member of the team?
- Were you satisfied with your team or do you wish they were more responsive to your needs and goals?
- Do you feel the team took the time to get to know the challenges you and your family and/or advocates were facing?
- Did you have a ‘go to person’ that was responsive to you and your family? Who was it and did you feel they were helpful?
The following are the members of the healthcare team. Each has a specific role that is meant to complement the other members of the team to ensure that safe, quality care is being provided for the good of the patient.
Each member of the team should know the role and function of his or her team members, including you (the Patient and the family).
A good resource that you might want to consider is Five Wishes. This is a document that helps people express their feelings and document in one place so that their family and friends understand what they want to happen to them if their life changes and they need a voice to advocate for them. The Five Wishes ensure that each persons care is handled with dignity. Here is the link to evaluate this important resource https://www.agingwithdignity.org
Together with your team you should develop your plan of care so that it meets your medical needs as well as your life goals. You are the center of your healthcare team and your opinion is invaluable.