A more person-centred approach is one of the key preliminaries in developing the Swedish healthcare system. Further research is required and above all; the knowledge must be shared across boundaries to ensure that it is used and implemented where it is really needed. The University of Gothenburg founded the Centre for Person-Centred Care (GPCC) in order to focus on the cognition of patients as persons with long-term illnesses, their resources, perceived needs and goals for how they can obtain health and better and more efficient care.
GPCC was established 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 as well as national and international partners. GPCC is supported by funding primarily from the Swedish Government as well as the University of Gothenburg.
Professor and Centre Director Inger Ekman explains that the long-term goal is to “establish an international 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.
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 after a heart-attack or unstable angina (acute coronary syndrome). Many of them are on long periods of sick leave and feel depressed and non-confident of what they dare and can do after their myocardial infarction. The focus of the project is on improving the processes from hospital to outpatient care and tailoring the rehabilitation from each persons´ resources and motivation.
The main outcome variable is to increase self-efficacy in patients after the event, by facilitating a partnership between the patient and healthcare professionals during the entire carechain. This approach may help patients to recover faster and bring forward the return to ordinary life activities as well as decreasing the period for sick-leave. The knowledge may also contribute to a better health related quality of life, less stress and reduced fear. Overall, the communicated care within and between health care providers (hospital, outpatient and primary care) should be more efficient, patients would thus experience greater well-being with fewer sick days and enjoy returning to work or other desired activities.
The study is conducted at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Angered Local Hospital and Primary Care Gothenburg.
Patient provides best source of information
Postgraduate Axel Wolf has, in his research on the subject of person-centred care, outlined that the desired approach is to create a partnership between patient and care staff, rather than applying the traditionally practiced approach where medical staff decides how a patient really feels based solely on data and measureable assessment.
“Swedish health care providers are generally very good at applying technological or management solutions to healthcare, but we need to increase awareness of the possibilities of partnering with the patient as a person, hence acknowledging the expert knowledge of the person regarding his/her own everyday life.
Axel Wolf underlines that the patient is the best resource for determining how he/she really feels; medical assessment tools are used to confirm actual state. He continues: “The person-centred care aspects present a whole new way of thinking, both public and private health care providers have shown interest, as well as corporations operating within the medical sphere – Astra Zeneca for instance”.
IT and software developers are of course keen to deliver new solutions. At the same time, it is important to recognise that SME:s have a key role to play. “Ideas and innovations are often developed by smaller companies and then delivered to the global leaders. SME:s are therefore also very important partners for us here at GPCC”.
Art exhibition on person-centred care
Another important aspect is to increase awareness about person-centred care. GPCC initiated collaboration with the Röhsska Museum of Art and Design in Gothenburg with an ambition to promote and increase interest in person-oriented care at large, resulting in an exhibition featuring the subject.
Inger Ekman explains: “The UBUNTU exhibition summarises key points in person-centred care. An increased focus on the individual is, just like Axel Wolf explained, a new way of thinking and person-centred care is largely regarded as a guide for the development of our future health care system. It is our ambition to promote person-centred care so that more people become involved, not only traditional health care providers but in fact also the entire life science-and tech industry”.