A more patient-oriented approach is one of the key preliminaries of the national healthcare system in Sweden. In order to support the ambition to achieve better care with a clearer focus on each individual’s needs, further research is required in the field of person-oriented care and above all; the knowledge must be shared across boundaries to ensure that it is used and implemented where it is really needed. In accordance, the University of Gothenburg has founded the Centre for Person-Centred Care (GPCC) last year to focus on the cognition of patients with long-term illnesses, their perceived needs and solutions for how they can obtain better care.
GPCC was launched on January 1, 2010 with the aim of establishing a research centre for person-centred care in long-term illnesses. GPCC comprises research teams from nearly all faculties at the University of Gothenburg and from all departments at the Sahlgrenska Academy. GPCC is supported by funding primarily from the Swedish Government as well as the University of Gothenburg.
Goal: establish a national centre of excellence in person-centred care
Health Care Organisation, Learning and Information Systems, Symptom Research and development of clinical research-methods are the three primary areas of interest that are dealt with at GPCC.
Professor and centre director Inger Ekman explains that the long-term goal is to “establish a national centre of excellence in person-centred care in long-term illnesses, initially by supporting research programs of the highest international standards”. There are several ongoing projects connected to a broad area of medical and health care expertise.
“The research within our centre is characterised by being multidisciplinary and crossing geographical boundaries involving expertise from all over the world”, Inger Ekman underlines.
“The results of our most recent study evaluating person-centred care in patients with chronic heart failure will shortly be published in European Heart Journal. We have already shown that when person-centred care is fully implemented, hospital days can be shortened with 50 % in patients with hip fractures and we now found that also in patients with worsening chronic heart failure, hospital days can be shortened”.
Ongoing project focusing on acute coronary syndrome
In one of the ongoing projects at GPCC researchers are evaluating person-centred care in a randomised controlled study of patients with acute coronary syndrome. Improving the processes from hospital to outpatient care and making the health care system more efficient in the aspects of person-centred care are core topics within the project. To identify gender differences in health care is another aim of the same study.
The idea is to provide knowledge on how to increase self-efficacy in patients after being hospitalised for acute coronary syndrome. To increase physical activity and return to ordinary life pattern activities such as returning to work or other daily activities may help some patients recover faster. The knowledge may also contribute to a better quality of life, less stress and fear that the patient may be experiencing.
Using randomised groups
The described study is currently conducted at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Angered Local Hospital and Primary Care Gothenburg. The study has an exploratory first phase and a second evaluation stage where patients being hospitalised for acute coronary syndrome are randomised to different groups of either intervention or usual care follow-up.
A person-centred care plan is developed to allow optimisation of treatment and rehabilitation during the study. The intervention group will also have the possibility to convey electronic health diary by using a mobile telephone and a web application.
Health providers must identify individuals’ resources for regaining health
To conclude, Inger Ekman summarises key points of the study:
“There is a pressing need for health providers to identify each individual’s resources for regaining health. The communicated care within and between health care providers (hospital, outpatient and primary care) should be more effective and patients would then experience greater well-being with fewer sick days and earlier return to work or other desired activities. We aim to provide the knowledge required in order to improve existing health care processes. In this study, we are targeting patients with acute coronary syndrome, we are also conducting other studies in parallel that may have the same goals and results for improving the
health care system over all”.