Patient Choice recently has become a hot topic for healthcare providers, politicians and lobbyists, garnering buzzword status across the U.S. landscape.
Although the term has been in use for many years, today, “Patient Choice” means many things to many people. For healthcare providers, it often means giving patients the relevant knowledge needed to make an informed decision about their healthcare choices. For politicians and lobbyists, Patient Choice often is no more than a party platform or a push to ensure or dismantle corporate insurer’s accountability.
The resulting perspectives on the topic are a seemingly endless, and often incomprehensible, litany of policies, white papers and web sites that only add to the confusion.
Here at Assisted Living Locators Manasota, we understand the importance of Patient Choice and know that nowhere is it more important than in senior care when working with vulnerable populations. So, we decided to address the topic in an effort to empower and protect seniors and their caregivers.
Sure, Patient Choice means you should be able to choose which doctors to see, which home health service best suits your needs, which assisted living facility best fits your lifestyle and which respite care provider best gels with your family’s personality— but it also means much more.
Justus Liebig University professor and researcher Benjamin Ewert, in an International Journal of Health Policy Management article, argues that Patient Choice means more than choosing an insurance company, doctor, hospital or treatment. In fact, he argues, patients are obliged to make these types of decisions all the time. Instead, he suggests two additional “crucial aspects” to Patient Choice:
- Opportunities for patients to voice concerns and worries and take an active, well-informed part in their healthcare choices.
- Reconciling the importance of interpersonal trust and relationships with healthcare decision-making.
Karla LaFreniere Oliver, Director of Assisted Living at Cypress Cove senior living neighborhood in South Fort Myers, Florida, sums up the concept of Patient Choice (and Ewert’s findings) nicely. “Patient Choice means respect, trust and relationship,” she said. “You need all three to truly provide Patient Choice.”
We couldn’t agree more.
From a senior care provider perspective, Patient Choice means:
- Respecting your patient or client enough to listen to their concerns, their worries, their needs and their desires.
- Earning your patient or client’s trust by always having their best interests at heart.
- Building a relationship with your patient or client rather than treating them like a number.
As a senior or senior caregiver, be your own Patient Choice advocate by:
- Voicing your concerns, worries, needs and desires to your senior care advisor or healthcare provider.
- Giving trust when trust is earned through hard work, honesty and transparency.
- Taking the time to build a relationship with your senior care advisor or healthcare provider so they can help you find the best option for your individual situation.
When it comes time for the families in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee Counties on the Gulf Coast of Florida to exercise their right to Patient Choice in senior care options, we’re here to help. We’ll put our more than 25 years of eldercare expertise to work for you free of charge to ensure you or your loved one are personally matched with caring providers in home care, companion care, adult day care, respite, independent living and retirement apartments, assisted living homes and communities, memory care, nursing homes and much more.