The healthcare system has been undergoing transformation for the past two decades across technological, infrastructural, service provision, quality, safety and costs and research-based care techniques among other visible and hidden aspects. These changes have gradually led to a system that more than anything assures patients, families and communities of recovery, restoration and a high quality of life as well as prolonged lives as evident in the increasing population of senior citizens (Henriksen et al., 2008). Today, the aspect of patient-centered care has taken shape of how healthcare services are disseminated to patient groups.
Within this perspective, the provision of healthcare has in previous been based on the autonomy, self-governance of the physicians and care providers and furthermore the aspects of paternalism. However, within the concept of patient-centre care, the focus is on shared decision making and learning and further on the patient experiences, perspectives, behaviors, participation and perspectives all as essential tenets of quality care provision (Sollecito & Johnson, 2013). These changes have all been necessitated and enabled by a revamping and equipping of the workforce, empowerment and the creation of a sustainable model of care across board and furthermore bringing in the role of all stakeholders as an important element of this sustenance.
One of the notable aspects of these changes within the care system is the rapid increase in the population of older adults especially those beyond the ages of 65 years and above. This availability of quality care that has helped prolong the life expectancy and still assure these groups of their health even within the fact that in this old age their body systems are weak or have a declining functional capability (Henriksen et al., 2008). I have over time worked within the hospice care unit which is one of the busiest and complex units of the contemporary healthcare system. The hospice unit offers care to these older adults who need or require constant and continuous monitoring while assuring and affording them the quality of life and comfort that they would wish to have at their homes (Sollecito & Johnson, 2013).
For these older adults that I have dealt with, there are many issues that do come up even as they are admitted to the hospice care. They feel that they are gradually losing their independence and that end of life could be beckoning. Being far from home and with now a virtually and physically broken family relationships and roles in respect to distance, this patient group at times feels and perceives that their lives have depreciated and that they are a liability to the people around them(Casarett, Spence, Clark, Shield & Teno, 2012). With the health issues further confounding these fears, these groups feel that the detachment from their families and homes where they feel a sense of belonging is a clear sign that they do not have much to offer and this has a significant psychological and emotional impact on their life and health too (Henriksen et al., 2008).
In this regard, as the healthcare provider it is our role to ensure that we provide an environment that offers the patient the quality and safe environment that ultimately helps them sustain a reasonable quality of life even in their illness and age-related changes. This involves the provision of an environment that equals the home environment in terms of quality and state of the art systems that limit the cases of injuries or infections (Sollecito & Johnson, 2013). More importantly the focus is on developing a facility and environment that provides the optimal social networks that help these groups at least develop new relationships that for psychological and mental adaptation to their new condition and limitations in old age.
As the healthcare provider, the monitoring of these patients and the need to work closely with them at this time of their life is one of the aspects of patient-centered care that has been enforced in the hospice within the acceptance that these groups require people and new relationship on which they can base their trust and expect love as a bridge to overcoming their now less active social life (Casarett, Spence, Clark, Shield & Teno, 2012). It is part of the transformation agenda of the healthcare system where there is a new focus on the non-pharmacological aspects of the patient and not just on the pharmacological aspects and with this population of older adults expected to increase then there is a need for the healthcare system to further revamp and restructure hospice services to equally afford them from home care within the same quality and safety measures (Casarett, Spence, Clark, Shield & Teno, 2012).
Casarett, D., Spence, C., Clark, M. A., Shield, R., & Teno, J. M. (2012). Defining patient safety in hospice: Principles to guide measurement and public reporting. Journal of palliative medicine, 15(10), 1120-1123.
Henriksen, K., Battles, J. B., Keyes, M. A., Grady, M. L., Henriksen, K., Oppenheimer, C., & Bruley, M. E. (2008). Envisioning patient safety in the year 2025: eight perspectives.
Sollecito, W. A., & Johnson, J. K. (2013). Continuous quality improvement in health care (4th Ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.