Changing the Work Environment in ICUs to Achieve Patient-Focused Care: Patient-Focused Care

Changing the Work Environment in ICUs to Achieve Patient-Focused Care: Patient-Focused CareLip-service collaboration, on the other hand, is halfhearted. When we say that we want to hear the perspectives of others, we must really listen, and our actions must reflect an expanded worldview. Yet, when the stakes are highest and the potential for disagreement is the greatest, we are at the greatest risk for lip-service collaboration. Source
Therefore, we must agree on the best way to help an anxious or angry family support their critically ill loved one, and we must not respond by limiting their access to the patient. With true collaboration, physicians, nurses, and patients’ family members will figure out together the best ways to communicate, to gain the families’ insights into the patients’ needs, and to harness their healing energies.
True collaboration requires communicating effectively. In the book Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, a highly influential and practical guide to improving relationships and successfully handling difficult interactions, Patterson et al discuss the importance of colleagues agreeing on a mutual purpose in order to link seemingly disparate goals and strategies. A mutual purpose is one that is “more meaningful or more rewarding than the ones that divide the various sides.” In health care, the most effective mutual focus of purpose is the patient. Hence, we view the connection between care that is truly patient-focused and the creation of healthy work environments as critical to our effectiveness as health-care providers and to our success in transforming our practice environments.
The concept of patient-focused care was born out of a realization that medicine as currently practiced is too fragmented, too focused on turf battles that hinder communication, and too divorced from a real understanding of what patients expect and need from their health-care providers. The solution lies in viewing every encounter with a patient as an opportunity to deliver the care we would want for our own family members.

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