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A Call for Patient and Family Centered Care

Posted By Daniel Marlowe, Tuesday, April 03, 2012

As healthcare costs continue to increase, the squeeze of providing affordable high quality care continues to be at the forefront of the debate. One possible answer has been to explicitly include family members and social support systems as key players in helping provide care to patients. No longer seen as only a ‘resource,' family members are being looked to as cornerstones in ensuring patients receive the best care possible. This link presents an AARP report entitled Moving Toward Person- and Family-Centered Care, which outlines PFCC in regards to older adults with chronic illness and/or disability.

Something to consider- as the healthcare field continues to place a higher premium on patients' relationships and connection to social supports as a means to defray gaps in care, how might medical family therapy position itself to help this discussion along? After all, as medical family therapists we know the power of these relationships, their effect on our biopsychosocial well-being, and perhaps most importantly, the difficulty many families face in taking on the care of a loved one. Perhaps this call for family involvement is a concurrent call for MedFT involvement as well?

References:

Feinberg, L. (March, 2012). Moving Toward Person- and Family-Centered Care. Retrieved from http://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/research/public_policy_institute/ltc/2012/moving-toward-person-and-family-centered-care-insight-AARP-ppi-ltc.pdf

 

Daniel Marlowe

Dan Marlowe is the co-editor of the Growing MedFT Blog, and the Director of Applied Psychosocial Medicine for the Duke/Southern Regional AHEC Family Medicine Residency Program in Fayetteville, NC. He obtained his MS in Marriage and Family Therapy and PhD in Medical Family Therapy from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.


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Barry J. Jacobs says...
Posted Tuesday, April 03, 2012
I think this document is interesting for MedFTs and other family-centered healthcare professionals for several reasons. The arguments it makes are obvious to us--family-centered care makes abundant sense in geriatric care, as well as the care of others with chronic health conditions. But it is not every day that a consumer powerhouse such as AARP weighs in like this. Healthcare professionals who aren't particularly family-friendly--and this may include many physicians and mental health professionals--may still argue that there is no reimbursement for conferring with familiy members. But they can't ignore consumer preferences forever. If AARP champions family-centered care as good geriatric care, then healthcare professionals are going to have to take heed, available reimbursement or not.

I thank Lynn Friss Feinberg--a long-time family caregiving expert, especially on caregiver assessment--for influencing AARP to adopt this position and for writing this cogent policy initiative. All family-oriented professionals, not just MedFTs, will benefit from it.
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Janelle Jensen says...
Posted Wednesday, April 04, 2012
As a MedFT student with eager hopes and dreams for continued change and recognition in our work around patient and family centered care, I wonder how to respond? Does a pat on the back for those advocating for this work suffice or proudly sharing this info along to our non-family centered partners support continued growth? I question not to diminish the power of the “thank you” and "hey you - wake up and smell this PFCC coffee brewing!" but wonder more about what else could we be doing? Clearly there is not a simple answer to my pondering; however, these are the questions that keep me awake at night. As a student, I have the privilege to work freely outside of payer system limits, creating space for creativity in how I can practice in geriatric care and collaborative work. I almost fear the day of graduation when the reality of our system will undoubtedly impact how I practice. Although we cannot escape these realities, I wonder how we can collaborate to better our practices and tap into our creativity, while harnessing the boldness and energy that lead us into this field.
I look forward to this journey and say “Thank you!” to all those who have been in this profession much longer than I and for your ability to speak with confidence and purpose to our friends, “Hey you, wake up and smell this coffee…it’s good!”
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