In recent years, the Golden Rule in healthcare has been taken over by the Platinum Rule. The Golden Rule meant that we would treat patients as we would want to be treated. However, when patients’ experiences and outlooks deviate from our own, we stop being a reliable barometer of their values, needs and goals. Inaccurate perceptions of what they are going through, their suffering and our personal biases may lead to distorted compassion, coupled with an attitude of pity. In such instances, the Platinum Rule would be more appropriate because it asks us to consider caring for patients in a way that they want to be cared for. It is a better standard for achieving optimal person-centered care. It also means that we need to know patients for who they are as persons and hence, guide treatment decisions with care based on respect and compassion.
In a person-centered care approach when patients and families are involved in planning/making decisions about their care, health outcomes are better, patient experience and satisfaction improve and costs may even be lower for the organization. As shared in the part 1 and part 2 of the Platinum Rule blogs, in order for a healthcare facility to fully embrace and implement person-centered care and truly live the Platinum Rule, there has to be a truly patient-centered culture.
The culture of any healthcare organization encompasses its attitudes, languages, behaviors, practices and norms. These six steps can help guide a real transformation in culture to promote the Platinum Rule – person-centered care and family engagement.
1. Engage Strong Leadership
Leadership sets the tone for any organizational culture and makes it healthy. As the Global thought leader Patrick Lencioni (founder and president of The Table Group) says:
“The single biggest factor determining whether an organisation is going to get healthier – or not- is the genuine commitment and active involvement of the person in charge.”
Through thoughtful words and actions, it falls to leaders to cultivate a supportive and trusting workplace culture in the healthcare institute, facilitate a continuous learning environment and make sure that person-centered care and family engagement are integrated into organizational structure and strategy every step of the way.
2. Consider Patients and Families as Partners
An organization needs to create systems and processes to harness insights from patients and families about their experiences and opportunities for continuous improvements. Having focus groups, patient/family advisory councils and participation in practice improvement teams can be a few examples. One of the C’s of the Platinum Rule is to collaborate. Healthcare professionals can have collaborative meetings with the patient and their families to make mutual decisions on the patient’s care treatments and next steps.
3. Empower Staff and Teams
According to Patrick Lencioni, joy is the leading indicator of whether an organization is healthy or not. It is also an important factor in fostering a positive organizational culture that would support person-centered care. Joy in healthcare practices is created in part by feeling a sense of purpose that exceed specific tasks. A healthcare organization can create this shared purpose by reserving time for staff to share stories of the positive impact they have made in patients’ lives. Introducing systems that invite all staff to participate in improving care so that the practice can become a better, joyful place to work, can also help.
Leaders have to be explicit about expectations and accountabilities shared by everyone on the team to promote person-centered care. This can be done by embedding expectations related to respectful and compassionate interactions, language, customer service, and personalized care as core competencies for all staff in job descriptions and performance evaluations.
Team leaders can also make patient and family engagement personal for all staff members. Taking time out to regularly refresh and remind each other of how these activities connect to what makes their work meaningful and purposeful can help.
Hucu.ai supports Interprofessional collaboration in healthcare and helps energize and motivate staff members with its ‘Hucu Honor Points’ feature. Care team leaders can give honor points to staff members who are performing well.
4. Encourage Family Participation in Care
Family and loved ones are a vital source of continuity and coordination across all settings of person-centered care. Patients can be invited to identify a family Care Partner so that organization can elicit Care Partners’ observations and questions during visits. Healthcare practices can also equip Care Partners with tools for monitoring their loved one’s health and managing their care. One of these tools which support insightful conversation and communication between care teams and Care Partners is Hucu.ai. Specific patient/family channels in the app helps keep everyone in the loop and facilitate communication.
5. Equip, Support and Enable Patients to Engage
Without patients’ engagement in treatment planning and self-management, patients’ goals/preferences and their cultural norms cannot be integrated into care. While fostering a positive culture to promote the Platinum Rule, an organization needs to adopt strategies like teach-back, medication management and shared decision-making to support patients to become active members of the care team.
6. Exercise Patient and Family Engagement (PFE) in Everything
PFE is a strong bond that ties all that the healthcare facility does with them. With patients and family members as advisors, an organization can consider ways to modify the physical environment to promote engagement.
Another way to emphasize PFE is to be intentional about language. Care team leaders can talk about patient ‘partnership’ and acknowledge patients’ ‘expertise’ about themselves. Care team leaders can also reference the important role of family ‘care partners’. Adopting language like this can help reinforce expectations for how the care team, patients and families will interact and engage.
To truly practice the Platinum Rule, a healthcare organization needs to transform its culture, have a strong communication practice and collaborate with the patient and family compassionately. Following these six steps can help transform an organization’s culture to promote the Platinum Rule. Once the culture is ready, continuous communication, collaboration, care (the remaining 3 C’s of the rule) can help an organization to become completely person-centered.
Hucu.ai is an effective healthcare communication app that can be a vital catalyst in an organization’s mission to have a person-centered care approach.
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