Patient Engagement

Old Couple

Patients should not be seen as people who have treatments given to them, or care provided for them.  All patients have their own skills, likes, dislikes and preferences.  A service which does not take the patient’s views into account is setting itself up to fail.  Patients don’t need to just co-operate with health and social care, or comply with treatment regimes, they need to be part of the solution (and the solution may not be what we perceive it to be).

Firstly to engage the patient, we need to ask them what they see as a successful outcome and talk about what would be a realistic expectation.  What we may see as functional recovery, to the patient may be the ability to take the dog to the park unaided.  The path to that outcome can be plotted and tracked with the patient taking an active role, understanding the milestones they need to meet to get there.

Technology can play a key role in this engagement.  There are a variety of solutions out there which offer the patient the opportunity to record their own health and care information, with the functional ability to share this with healthcare professionals.  Technology is increasingly accessible to the general public, with some solutions designed specifically for those with the most restricted communication skills.

The National Voices Care and Support Planning Guide is an excellent start to help patients engage in the planning process.