Patient Centered Care: My Perspective as a Mother and Nurse

Almost everyone has a story about how the health care system has failed him or her. I am not going to give you more scenarios or stories about these all too familiar circumstances we as parents, children, family and friends find ourselves in regularly as healthcare consumers. As a nurse it is incredibly frustrating not to provide real “care” to the patients I have the pleasure of working with daily. I know, right now you may be thinking this is going to be some political commentary on healthcare. Well, it’s not! Instead I am going to ask you a question and tell you about a new model of healthcare that puts YOU at the center. You get to be the one WE care about. Not the bottom line, not insurance agencies, not government, YOU!

When I sat down to write this, I thought I better give you resources and definitions. However, the more I thought about it I know that is not what you want to hear because you are hearing that sort of stuff from talking heads all the time. So, instead here comes a single, very important question for you. What do you want out of your healthcare experience?

As a mother, I need to feel like I trust my primary care team. I need to know they are practicing up-to-date medicine. I need to know they are going to check in with me when my child or our family is having a hard time physically or mentally. I need to feel like they are talking to the other healthcare providers we come into contact with because it is absolutely overwhelming when you have to see multiple people. I need to know they are going to help me understand what is going on with my son, whether it is something as simple as how do I deal with 4 teeth coming in at the same time or as complex as food allergies. I need to feel like my team knows what my family needs when I sit down with them at our appointment. If this sounds like your answer to the above question, then you need a Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH).

PCMH has been adopted by the American Academy of Pediatrics and is also a part of the Affordable Care Act. PCMH is very detailed, but the main point is that it puts YOU and YOUR family back at the center of the decisions along with your primary care provider. You work together with your primary care provider to determine what is best for you and your family. At ACP our primary care providers knows what is going on with your healthcare experience. For example, we follow up with you to make sure you are improving. We monitor your healthy growth and lifestyle adding tools to your family’s toolbox to ensure you are thriving. We want to help you understand and navigate any and all healthcare needs you may have, physical and/or behavioral. We make sure you have language interpretation at every visit if you need it. We want to care for your child and your child’s family, traditional or modern.

ACP has been adopting this model of care for the last 3 years. Every day we learn how to be better advocates for your family’s healthcare experience. This is something all primary care practices should be adopting. Remember it is about YOU, not us. So, the next time you need healthcare, ask yourself; “What do I want out of my or my family’s experience?” If we are not providing it, please let us know how we can better our delivery of care to you and those you love most. We are passionate and committed to PCMH and will continue to reach for YOUR highest standard. Maybe it is time we all should be asking this of all of our healthcare encounters and demanding the results.

To learn more about PCMH watch our video here!

Jessica Daniels, Registered Nurse at Alaska Center for Pediatrics