Patients and families play an important role in the delivery of healthcare

October is Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month, a time to reflect on the important role that patients and families play in the delivery of healthcare. This means that nurse navigators and hospital staff members across the country will be raising awareness to their commitment to focus on compassionate, patient-focused care.

What is Patient-Centered Care?

Patient-centered care is more than hospitality. It is more than amenities and inviting surroundings. Patient-centered care creates positive impressions and satisfying experiences, but beyond that, it improves lives. Patient-centered care engages the patient on all levels: emotionally, physically, spiritually, intellectually and socially.

Patient-centered care creates workplaces that energize and inspire joy at work. It improves health outcomes and unites communities around health and wellness.

Research has shown that when patients and their families are engaged in their own care team, they:

  • make more informed decisions;
  • are more likely to adopt healthy behaviors;
  • report more positive patient experiences; and
  • achieve better health outcomes.
what is patient centered care - senior resident care

8 Key Principles to Patient-Centered Care

The main goal of a patient-centered care model is to improve individual outcomes—when patients are more involved in their own care, they often recover more quickly and are more satisfied with the care they receive.

Patient-centered care is often discussed using the framework created by the former Picker Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the principles of patient-centered care. This framework included eight key principles, outlined below.


Respect for patient values, preferences, and needs

As mentioned previously, patient preferences should be considered during person-centered healthcare decisions, as this will foster a relationship of respect and collaboration.


Information and education

To make better decisions about their health, patients need information on their clinical status, progress, and prognosis. Many patients may also benefit from educational resources that are tailored to their level of health literacy.

Involvement of family and friends

Support from family and friends is a key aspect of person-centered care, so providers should take the needs of caregivers, family, and friends into account. This might mean providing accommodations and support for these individuals or involving them in decision making.

Access to care

Healthcare organizations aiming to provide person-centered care should do their best to streamline appointment scheduling, make referrals accessible, and provide information on transportation options.


Physical comfort

Pain management and assistance with daily needs are key to improving patient experience in hospitals and acute care facilities.

Emotional support and alleviation of fear

Similarly, patients should be provided with the resources needed to minimize stress and fear regarding their physical status, treatment, and prognosis, as well as worry caused by financial aspects of care.

Coordination and integration of care

Improved coordination and integration of clinical care and support services can help reduce patient uncertainty and vulnerability.

Continuity and transition

To minimize patient concern about post-discharge care, medical providers should educate patients on medications, physical limitations, dietary needs, and so on. Further, they may need to coordinate ongoing treatment or offer information on access to clinical, social, physical, and financial support.

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