The realities of partnership in person-centred care: a qualitative interview study with patients and professionals
BMJ Publishing Group
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OBJECTIVE: Although conceptual definitions of person-centred care (PCC) vary, most models value the involvement of patients through patient-professional partnerships. While this may increase patients' sense of responsibility and control, research is needed to further understand how this partnership is created and perceived. This study aims to explore the realities of partnership as perceived by patients and health professionals in everyday PCC practice. DESIGN: Qualitative study employing a thematic analysis of semistructured interviews with professionals and patients. SETTING: Four internal medicine wards and two primary care centres in western Sweden. PARTICIPANTS: 16 health professionals based at hospital wards or primary care centres delivering person-centred care, and 20 patients admitted to one of the hospital wards. RESULTS: Our findings identified both informal and formal aspects of partnership. Informal aspects, emerging during the interaction between healthcare professionals and patients, without any prior guidelines or regulations, incorporated proximity and receptiveness of professionals and building a close connection and confidence. This epitomised a caring, respectful relationship congruent across accounts. Formal aspects, including structured ways of sustaining partnership were experienced differently. Professionals described collaborating with patients to encourage participation, capture personal goals, plan and document care. However, although patients felt listened to and informed, they were content to ask questions and felt less involved in care planning, documentation or exploring lifeworld goals. They commonly perceived participation as informed discussion and agreement, deferring to professional knowledge and expertise in the presence of an empathetic and trusting relationship. CONCLUSIONS: In our study, patients appear to value a process of human connectedness above and beyond formalised aspects of documenting agreed goals and care planning. PCC increases patients' confidence in professionals who are competent and able to make them feel safe and secure. Informal elements of partnership provide the conditions for communication and cooperation on which formal relations of partnership can be constructed.
The study was funded by the Centre for Person-Centred Care (GPCC) and LETStudio at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. GPCC is funded by the Swedish Government’s grant for Strategic Research Areas, Care Sciences (Application to Swedish Research Council No. 2009-1088) and cofunded by the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Nicky Britten was partially supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care South West Peninsula.
This is the final version of the article. Available from BMJ Publishing Group via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 7 (7), article e016491
Place of publication