Post-it notes, discussions and practical exercises… A free online training course in person-centred care in English is now being launched. The purpose is to give health care sector staff tools to help themselves to start working in a person-centred way.
“This is about the patient’s role as a partner, how staff and patients make agreements, and how to document them in a health plan,” says Irma Lindström Kjellberg, Senior Adviser at the University of Gothenburg Centre för Person-Centred Care, GPCC in Sweden, who has created the course.
She continues: “Knowing about person-centred care is one thing, but the question is how to go about it. Therefore we have developed a teaching tool that enables each service to implement its own training course.”
Globally there is a strong trend towards more person-centred care, involving a partnership between the patient, the patient’s family and the care professionals. One of the underpinning documents is the WHO Framework on integrated people-centred health services. Person-centred care means listening to the patient’s own narrative and using it alongside other (usually medical) examinations and tests as the basis for a health plan.
Ten training sessions
Using the online course, Mutual meetings, is free of charge. It is carried out in groups of four to six health and care professionals. The course guides the group, step by step, through theory, discussion and exercises, which can be implemented directly in their everyday work.
Questions raised during the course may for example be how far employees take into account the patients’ own expert knowledge of themselves, how well the patients’ perceptions of their symptoms are understood, and how joint care planning can be documented.
The three modules of the training — the partnership, the patient narrative and documentation — comprise a total of ten occasions lasting 50 minutes each. However, depending on the desired outcome, the training can be shortened. The sessions are always headed by someone in the group, either the same person every time or different individuals.
Shorter hospital stays and greater trust
The transition to person-centred care is sometimes described as a paradigm shift in healthcare services. Research shows that person-centred care can reduce the length of patients’ hospital stays and inspire greater trust in the services among care recipients.
“No doctor, nurse or healthcare assistant would admit not listening to the patients. But at the same time there’s a culture that makes it hard for lots of people to surrender power in matters where the patients should have more influence,” says Irma Lindström Kjellberg.
At GPCC, some 30 research projects are underway in person-centered care, rehabilitation and social care for various pathological conditions, and in care organization and implementation issues. Some 100 researchers in Sweden and abroad are associated with the Centre.