Achieving Person-centered Care: The Need for Multiple Strategies

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Margaret Fitch
Irene Nicoll
Fay Bennie


Background: Evidence from patient satisfaction surveys, needs assessments, and stakeholder forums provide a clear picture that cancer patients are not receiving the full range of supportive care services that could be of benefit to them. The cancer system needs to undergo a shift toward person-centered care. Such a cultural shift requires concerted effort and multiple strategies to be successful.Objective: The purpose of the Cancer Journey Action Group of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer is to provide leadership to achieve person-centered care in the Canadian cancer care system.Methods: The Cancer Journey Action Group has developed and implemented several initiatives to demonstrate how person-centered care can be achieved. The initiatives include programs in screening for distress (6th vital sign), patient navigation, on-line support groups, survivorship care plans projects, cancer transition education, and palliative care/end-of-life education. Tools to support this work have been designed including evidence-based practice guidelines, algorithms, and on-line education modules. Evaluation has focused on program uptake, educational effectiveness, inter-professional teamwork and patient satisfaction.Results: All initiatives have been evaluated by patients/survivors as helpful. Issues of importance to patients/survivors are the focus of conversations with, and assessments by, health care professionals. Critical success factors across the respective programs for achieving person-centered care include clarity of a shared vision, leadership, persistent and concerted effort, and consistent messaging in communications.Conclusions: Demonstration projects undertaken for each topic area have provided an excellent opportunity to learn about best practices to implement the respective approaches. Guiding principles for implementation and relevant tools/resources have been developed as a result. Although progress toward person-centered care is evident, intentional and concerted efforts are necessary to sustain momentum of these efforts in routine clinical practice.

Article Details

How to Cite
Fitch, M., Nicoll, I., & Bennie, F. (2014). Achieving Person-centered Care: The Need for Multiple Strategies. The International Journal of Whole Person Care, 1(1).
Congress 2013
Author Biographies

Margaret Fitch, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto

Irene Nicoll, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, Toronto

Fay Bennie

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