Personalise your patient care; It’s important!
To some this may seem completely simple and obvious, and to others this may seem impossible – however we can all agree that personalised care is important.
Each patient is different – obviously – and even two patients suffering from the same condition can behave, think and process emotions in a different way (to name a few). The BBC has recently reported cases of patients in care homes who are neglected, distressed, and not properly taken care of. But this goes for all types of care, including hospitals, therapy and home visits.
But let’s not over look the importance of personalised care in mental health.
That’s right, I am going to go back to DIR Floortime now – but only because it emphasises this particular point. It IS important for care to be personalised! Through Floortime, therapists are encouraged to get to know the child, know their strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, develop a relationship, and a dynamic with them. And through this, they can create a personalised profile for the child, with personalised goals and a personalised intervention plan. Do you see where I’m going with this?
You wouldn’t treat a child with dyslexia the same way as a child with aspergers. You would treat an elderly woman the same as an elderly man. And you wouldn’t treat a boy with autism the same way as a girl with autism. Even when you are treating two boys with autism – being on the spectrum does not mean they are suffering in the same way. They may have different sensory issues – one may like loud noises, one may hate them; one may love getting dirt on their hands, one may not be able to take that. All people – even adults – have different sensory perceptions, will have different reactions to vestibular and propreoceptive stimuli.
Now, I am aware of the financial difficulties in health institutions – and there isn’t always time or money to be able to provide something so personal.
The UK has the NHS – meaning that everyone is entitled to free healthcare but that also often lacks money and people to make it an effective force. In places like Hong Kong, where you pay for healthcare (or your insurance company does) they can be reluctant to refer you to a specialist, or make you travel long distances in the hope of getting an appointment. I only mention these two places because I have experience with both of them in both physical and mental health. Healthcare is NEVER going to be perfect – not as long as the view about what is best for patients is still in dispute. However we can try.
All we can really do (me as an OT in training, and you as family members, friends, and members of health and social care) is try to take the extra time ourselves, and the pride in or work, to get to know our patients and to provide them with more personalised care.
I am not generalising here – I know that there are plenty of people going the extra mile out there. I know friends, family members, acquaintances, and even my own doctors, are all trying to provide the best healthcare they can. And I urge those people to carry on. The OT clinic I am interning in right now (SPOT) strives to provide this care every day – and so many children are now better off because of that.