People at the heart of healthcare

It was an unprecedented and turbulent year for global healthcare services. The challenges faced by healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic are unmatched in our lifetime.

Consumers play an active role in their health care as the Australian healthcare workforce strives to prioritize, reorganize and adapt to provide safe healthcare in the new COVID world. Is essential to fulfill.

Twelve months have passed since the Australian Healthcare Safety and Quality Commission (Committee) published the second edition of the Australian Health Care Charter (Chart). The revision was timely — it was more important than ever to stay focused on people-centric care.

Personal-centered care, which is the basis of good clinical practice, supports the safe and quality care of each individual so that they can receive the right care at the right place, at the right time. The Charter provides clear guidance to all healthcare professionals on how to provide personalized care to consumers, including patients, caregivers and families.

Progress to a new landscape

The second edition of the Charter, produced through 12 months of consultation, reflects consumer feedback on issues that are most important to consumers. It explains all the rights consumers have and promotes a common understanding of what people can expect when receiving health care.

The Charter update reflects the changing health care landscape since it was first released in 2008, allowing consumers to ask questions, share care decisions, and provide feedback. It has become. There is clear evidence that people who understand the risks and benefits of decision making make better choices.

Australian healthcare professionals should use the Charter as a guide to ethical practice and personalized care. It is also incorporated into the National Security and Quality Medical Services (NSQHS) standards that all public and private hospitals, day care services, and public dental practice must meet to maintain accreditation.

Value people-centered care

The revised Charter focuses on being a partner in their care, to the extent that consumers can choose or be able to.

Created from the consumer’s perspective and backed by extensive research, the Charter is consumed by healthcare service organizations at the heart of healthcare planning and delivery across seven domains: access, safety, respect, information, partnerships, privacy and feedback. Explains how to place people.

Evidence shows that human-centered care improves both the safety and quality of health care. When consumers are encouraged to talk and ask questions about their needs, they are less likely to suffer from complications as a result of a better understanding of their health and the care they need.

The use of the Charter is also a requirement for accreditation to NSQHS standards, and in its Action 2.3, healthcare services organizations use the Charter (or use a Rights Charter that is consistent with the Commission’s Charter) for easy access. It states that it needs to be done. consumer.

Dynamic healthcare environment

The challenges of COVID-19 for our healthcare system are complex and widespread, and many healthcare service organizations have changed the way care is delivered.

For some consumers, this meant a change in the way they access their health care. While the rise of telemedicine and the use of technology to improve patient access have empowered many, there are reports that consumers avoid or delay access to health care. The impact of COVID-19 on people’s psychological health and well-being is another factor that can influence decisions to access healthcare.

How can healthcare professionals keep consumers at the heart of healthcare in this rapidly changing environment with competing demand, anxiety and new ways of working?

Worth to consider:

  • Has your healthcare service organization considered different approaches to planning and consumer engagement?
  • What steps have healthcare organizations taken to understand the changing needs of consumers?

The Charter provides a useful framework that healthcare service organizations can use to maintain a focus on personalized care. This can be used as a guide. It’s a way to think and test how potential changes to systems and processes affect consumers in each of the seven domains. The Charter also helps ensure that the changes made help maintain consumer rights.

Supporting partnerships with consumers

The right to information and the partnership between consumers and healthcare providers are the foundation of the Charter. Sharing information about yourself can be difficult for some consumers who may not be aware of their rights or may be aware of a power imbalance with their healthcare provider. .. Periods of stress and difficulty can amplify these barriers.

However, encouraging patient voice can make a big difference in the delivery of care, so it is a worthwhile challenge to tackle.

Discussing health care rights builds trust and enables consumers to be respected and share personal information, experiences and preferences. All of these help identify the best way to reach your health care goals.

Healthcare services organizations can use the Charter to support partnerships with consumers and consumer groups. The Charter emphasizes the importance of respect, open communication, questions and information sharing in promoting the success of partnerships.

It informs healthcare providers about the types of information consumers need to receive in order to provide decision-making and informed consent. Consumers also recognize the right to privacy, the right to provide feedback, the provision of open disclosure in the event of a problem, and the right to contribute to improving the quality of healthcare services organizations.

Spread the word

Charter resources can be used to help healthcare service organizations and their consumers better understand healthcare rights — both printed and digital, including audio recordings and animated videos for screening in the waiting room. so.

Ensuring that consumers receive information tailored to their needs is an important element of the information domain of the Charter. This is especially important in reaching vulnerable groups and people with diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. To assist these consumers, the Charter has been translated into 19 languages ​​and Braille and is available in large print and a simple English version on the Commission’s website. An implementation guide for healthcare service organizations will be published shortly.

It is more important than ever for healthcare services organizations to stay focused on personalized care. The Charter provides a clear and accessible framework for healthcare service organizations to keep consumers at the center of the healthcare system both now and after the pandemic.

Associate Professor Amanda Walker is a palliative medicine specialist in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales and has led the state-wide work of end-of-life care at the New South Wales Clinical Excellence Commission. As a clinical director of the committee, she has focused on developing clinical care standards, resources for dealing with nosocomial complications, and clinician support to provide comprehensive care. Associate Professor Walker led the announcement of the revised Australian Health Care Charter in 2019.

This article was produced by Lucia Chiappini, a team affiliated with the Commission’s Consumers.

Image credit: © / au / pixs4u

People at the heart of healthcare

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