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Patient-Centered Care Redistributes Responsibility

Betty A. Marton for HealthLeaders Media, May 8, 2012

Caring for adult CF patients
CF is a genetic disease that affects approximately 30,000 Americans by damaging lung function and causing severe breathing problems and life-threatening infections. It also obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.

Long considered a pediatric disease—as recently as the mid-1980s, few patients made it past their teen years—medical advances have resulted in people with CF living increasingly longer lives, well into their 30s and 40s and beyond. As patients get older, however, the disease tends to become more complicated, according to Jaffrey, as does the regime of high-calorie supplements, antibiotics, digestive enzymes, and breathing treatments—as well as chest therapies—that patients administer to themselves every day at home orally or via nebulizer, IV, or stent, on both a scheduled and as-needed basis.

CF patients are routinely hospitalized once or twice a year for approximately two weeks for IV antibiotic treatments and are admitted through emergency departments for a variety of breathing, digestive, or infectious flare-ups. LIJ Medical Center admits between one and five CF patients a month, and upon admission, their medication routines were traditionally taken out of patients' hands and turned over to hospital nursing staffs. The result was that patients waited for 15–29 hours for their first breathing treatment, 18 hours for their first round of IV antibiotics, and often missed snacks and meals because the digestive enzymes they needed were not delivered in advance of eating.

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5 comments on "Patient-Centered Care Redistributes Responsibility"


Steve Wilkins (5/21/2012 at 10:12 AM)
Let's be very clear here...patient centered care does not mean giving the patient information or teach tjem self care skills. Patient centered care begings with providers tailoring what they say and do to the patient's health perspective, e.g., health beliefs, concerns, experiences, etc. Patient-Centered Care Begins With High Quality Doctor-Patient Communications http://wp.me/pGXmn-so

John Burik (5/15/2012 at 7:53 AM)
I'm very much for client- or patient-centered care. The potential downside is when the corporate types begin seeing the profit in this and start cutting appropriately trained and licensed staff with the rationale that we're "empowering" patients.

Deb (5/10/2012 at 8:52 PM)
This is an interesting article, well beyond CF. With all the talk about wanting more "enagaged" patients (which typically means people who do what a provider tells them to do); as this article points out when patients are "enaged" and know what they need for their well-being, they're met with resistence. What if instead of "engagement" we were seeking more of a partnership?