Person-centred care means understanding what is important for the individual as a person, not just a patient with a condition. This understanding facilitates discussions and shared decisions about personalised care planning and management.
What we are doing
The RCP is committed to promoting person-centred care in practice. By bringing together both patients and doctors, the RCP aims to provide support and practical guidance to doctors to help improve and embed person-centred care. It is a core component of the RCP Quality Improvement programme, which aims to provide doctors with practical support to develop and provide safe, timely, evidence-based, efficient and patient-centred care.
What is person-centred care?
Person-centred care — also referred to as patient-centred care or lay-centred care — is a core indicator of quality in healthcare. There is not a standard set of agreed principles for person-centred care, but the concept encourages all those who work in the health sector to take a holistic approach to care and recognise a patient’s preferences, individuality, and the difference this makes to treatment choices and the management of longer-term conditions.
- Person-centred care made simple (Health Foundation)
- What is person-centred care and why is it important? (Health Innovation Network)
Being person-centred is not just about actions, but a way of thinking about relationships and interactions. Becoming more person-centred can be immensely rewarding for both doctors and patients.
Benefits of person-centred care
- A Health Foundation review found that ‘self-management can have benefits for people’s attitudes and behaviours, quality of life, clinical symptoms and use of healthcare resources’.
- People who are involved in managing their condition tend to choose less costly and invasive treatments, are less likely to use the emergency services, and are more likely to stick with their treatment plan.
- A person-centred approach to improving services can help deliver better care for patients by more motivated, engaged staff. This approach can have other positive impacts, including greater satisfaction, improved communication, fewer complaints and potentially lower litigation costs for the NHS.
Person-centred care in practice
There is broad consensus that person-centred care needs to be embedded across health and social care. In reality, implementation is patchy.
NHS England’s Five Year Forward View identifies that more could be done to involve people in their care and to make care more individual. In a 2017 National Voices survey, 24% of people admitted via A&E said they were not given enough — or any — information about their condition or treatment. Only 56% of inpatients surveyed reported being as involved as they wanted to be in decisions about treatments. By contrast, 78% of cancer patients reported being as involved as they wanted to be in decisions and treatment.
Healthcare teams working with the RCP’s Future Hospital Programme put person-centred care and the patient’s experience of care at the heart of progress and quality. Its final report, Delivering the future hospital, has shown that local support can be effective in improving person-centred care in a financially constrained, politically exposed healthcare system. Together we can achieve more, and raise the bar across the board.