Psychiatry embraces patient-centred care

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In this article, the President of the American Psychiatric Association sets out a changing model of care, in which there is greater emphasis on involving people with mental health problems in determining the goals of treatment that are meaningful to them and the nature of their care.  The article argues that this requires greater shared decision making between the clinician and the patient, and support such as patient education to enable this to happen.

The article argues that meaningful goals for patients generally go beyond symptoms to include quality of life, functioning, and a sense of hope and self-efficacy.  This can only be achieved through shared decision making where psychiatrists assess the patient’s interest in participating in decisions, provide relevant information and discuss it with them.

The potential benefits include clinicians being able to offer an informed course of treatment annd patients being more inclined to adhere to the treatment. Shared decision making between psychiatrist and patient can also improve the efficiency and productiveness of patient visits, both indicators of quality care and precursors to improved patient mental health.

The article argues that although potentially challenging, it is the psychiatrist's job to develop the means to facilitate this mode of communication with patients and their participation in care. Patient education, for example through group training, may also help.

Psychiatric News is published by The American Psychiatric Association.

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