Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Colleen Baish Cameron
Human Development and Family Science
Arts and Science
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Health and Medical Administration | Other Public Health
The contemporary healthcare institution operates on the philosophy of patient-centered care [PCC], growing from the medical culture of the past: care centered around an omniscient provider, defining the patient by their illness versus their identities. While this widely practiced philosophy succeeds in meeting the chief complaint and needs of a patient, it neglects to care for the patient in the context of his or her broader life constituents: the family and loved ones. Health care providers and their institutions are stopping short of adequate, all-encompassing healthcare when the family is not regarded as an equal member of the care team. The family is excluded from communication in the patient-doctor duo, and is not provided accessible resources to them. Not only does a patient’s illness affect the entire family unit, but the family’s health and wellness can also influence the patient’s outcome. The philosophy of patient-and-family centered care [PFCC] includes all beneficial aspects of PCC, while additionally fulfilling healthcare’s responsibly to the family. This results in promoting better quality care, producing healthier outcomes, and reducing both patient and hospital costs.
This thesis argues for an institutional shift in healthcare to adopt the PFCC philosophy into practice and enact uniform implementation. Through a review of contemporary literature and the long-practiced foundations of medical principles, a call to action has been issued for the healthcare system and its providers. In actively practicing communication and education, collaboration, inclusion, and accessibility of supportive services, providers can ensure well-rounded support for the family’s needs and patient’s needs. There are public health programs and communities already in place that operate on a PFCC philosophy, such as Camp Kesem: a week-long summer camp, and year-round support system specifically for children affected by a parent or primary caregiver’s cancer. Learning about these programs and communicating them personally to patients’ and their families is a simple progression in upholding their health care responsibility. PFCC takes active engagement of providers in order to promote an optimal, healthy quality of life.
Merwin, Madeline, "Healthcare’s Responsibility to Care: The Call to Support Both Patients and Their Families Through Illness" (2019). Honors Capstone Projects - All. 1075.
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