Patient Centered Care

Dr Michelle Mackay Turville Bay

“Caring for the cancer patient’s health includes caring for their mental health. The evidence is pretty conclusive, an interdisciplinary approach to care maximizes the medical and technical gains we are making with cancer. Patient-doctor research has focused on patient satisfaction, comprehension, and the patient’s ability to adjust to their life with cancer. How does patient centered care actually work?

We’ve found that clear and continuing communications strengthen the patient-provider relationship. This in turn plays a critical role in the patient adapting to health-enhancing lifestyle changes. We know that, for example, smoking cessation can be a critical step for a cancer patient’s recovery. But, where mental health is concerned, will the patient deal with uncertainty while maintaining hope and following protocols? To achieve patient centered care, patients have to communicate with us, expressing their needs, preferences, and expectations as well as their concerns throughout treatment. Having a patient share power by offering meaningful involvement in choices related to treatment is characterized by mutual trust, respect, and commitment to their own health and to the protocols we ask them to follow. Patient effort can wane when fatigue swamps them and depression can become an issue. It is in these critical periods that patient centered care is most valuable. We can uncover a flagging spirit by discussing those difficult topics candidly during these periods of treatment.

Trust. The process of building trust takes time, but we’ve found it to be invaluable. We align our goals with the patient as those vary from person to person. We do our best to adapt to their needs throughout treatment. And above all, we communicate with the patient and their care team. Patient centered care is our core belief that together with the patient we’ll provide the best possible care.”