In addition to being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October is also Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month. Hosted by Planetree, the theme for 2013 is “Compassion in Action,” which ties to the core of Planetree’s philosophy that compassion is essential for care to truly be patient-centered. For organizations wanting to participate in the month, Planetree provides many ideas to promote patient-centered care practices and spread the message. One such idea is to display or distribute the Proclamation for Patient-Centered Care, which echoes many of the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation’s beliefs, such as “a patient is an individual to be cared for, not a medical condition to be treated” and “our patients are our partners and have knowledge and expertise that is essential to their care.”
Another way for organizations to participate in the month long celebration was to attend Planetree’s annual conference in Montreal in early October. For the very first time, Planetree chose to make one out of the three days of the conference “physician’s day” and our chief medical officer, Richard Wexler, was invited to present. While the attendees, for the most part, are already immersed in a culture that encompasses patient-centered care, “it was a great opportunity to teach them about shared decision making as a component of practicing patient-centered care,” said Richard.
Planetree has also released a new book in honor of the month called The Putting Patients First Field Guide: Global Lessons in Designing and Implementing Patient-Centered Care. This book provides real life examples on how to begin practicing patient-centered care and the many benefits it offers.
We hope progress toward developing compassionate care practices will continue to be commemorated beyond October and through this awareness, other organizations will see the value in creating a more patient-centered care environment.