With empowerment of the person; they are encouraged to take ownership of their mental health care plan to help improve their quality of life with the support of care professionals and carers. Mental health/wellness is also a relevant area when managing long term care needs of the older community.
Similarly, for older people; it is for theirs and everybody’s benefit that they participate more in the planning of their care. Particularly when they may require multiple care needs such as frailty, loneliness, dementia etc. This helps encourage their independence and improve their quality of life.
- Technology augments - but does not replace - human intervention in the planning and delivery of care
- Technology enables people to better participate in discussions and decisions about their care plan. This would include regular communications to quickly clarify any concerns and/or deal with changes in illness
The Business Case
Penned under the theme, ‘Putting Patients First’ the National Health Service (NHS) Business Plan (2013/14-2015/16) lists “patients satisfaction” as the number one priority in the improvement of health and care services. Considering that service users often say they feel marginalized during the care planning process, and wish for greater involvement in the decision making process in their own care, it stands to reason that patient empowerment is one avenue which can positively impact patient satisfaction.
Shearer et al (2010), in their article entitled “Empowerment Interventions for Older Adult” referencing Perkins & Zimmerman, 1995 and Rappaport, 1984 offer that in the health education and health promotion literature, empowerment has been conceptualized as a framework for understanding the process and consequences of efforts in order to exert control and influence over the decision that affect one’s life.
It is obvious then that patient empowerment encompasses a more person-centred care, which according to Health Innovation Network South London, “is a way of thinking and doing things that sees the people using health and social services as equal partners in planning, developing and monitoring care to make sure it meets their needs.” Health Innovation Network South London expounds that this means putting peoples and their families at the centre of decisions and seeing them as experts, working alongside professionals to get the best out-come.
In addition to patient satisfaction, staff satisfaction is also a high priority. A ‘motivated, positive NHS Staff’ is the second highest priority issue in the current NHS England business plan. Facilitating an active ‘partnership between the person/patient, carer and healthcare staff will improve satisfaction for everybody and reduce the probability of the person requiring emergency care through better (proactive) planning.
Understanding the significant positive impact which patient empowerment and person-centered care can yield on quality of care and life, particularly in care for older persons with longer-term needs; these elements were key building blocks for us at AssessPatients in our development and creation of our care software program to manage long term care needs for the older community.
The design of our care planning solution was therefore based on our aim to empower older people and carers to be more involved in the care planning process, to shift ownership of longer term health care plan from the professional to the service user.
Care outcomes as an example
Take for instance the Outcomes feature of AssessPatients Care Planning Software Program. Based on the GROW approach to setting goals, this involves an interactive process whereby Carers or Health Care Professionals meet with the Older person in order to assess what the older person’s current care needs are, to jointly set a new healthcare goal or outcome, and the plan of action in order to meet this goal.
In the example above, Carer Richard Bowden, is meeting with older person, Jack Donald so that together the two can establish a new outcome plan to help Jack be more active. In this case, the action plan involves Jack taking an independent walk every day.
It stands to reason that by including Jack in this process, through; meeting with him to review his areas of further improvement where falls are concerned; setting with him the action plan to improve his weakness; while also providing Jack with his own access to the AssessPatients program so he too can directly track his progress; will result in Jack feeling empowered and that he is a vital member of the care process, whose opinions and ideas matter. No doubt this would also encourage Jack to take greater charge of improving his own health and ensuring that he in fact embarks on this daily walk.
As our partnership with the EQUIP Research Centre evolves via the Communi-care project, we will be incorporating shared lessons In both care software offerings for mental/wellness and for older care which we will discuss in future posts.
Empowerment Interventions for Older Adults (PDF Download Available). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/45440489_Empowerment_Interventions_for_Older_Adults [accessed May 1, 2016].
Health Innovation Network South London (). What is Patient Centred Care and Why is It Important. Retrieved from http://www.hin-southlondon.org/system/ckeditor_assets/attachments/41/what_is_person-centred_care_and_why_is_it_important.pdf