Can patients improve their hospital care?

NCREN director, Professor Wendy Chaboyer
NCREN director, Professor Wendy Chaboyer

Patient participation in care (PCC) is believed to be a solution for the one in ten people who pick up a secondary illness or injury in hospital not related to their original condition.

Yet little research has been done into how hospitals will deliver these changes and how ready patients are to participate.

National Centre for Excellence in Nursing

Researchers from Griffith’s National Centre for Excellence in Nursing (NCREN) and Deakin University have received an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery grant to explore patients and nurses responses to PPC and their willingness to participate in it.

In the past decade organisations such as the World Health Organisation and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care have promoted Patient Participation in Care (PPC) as a means to significantly reduce adverse events in hospitals.

Griffith’s Professor Wendy Chaboyer will lead the three-year study which will involve participants from Queensland and Victoria in both private and public hospitals.

Power Sharing

“In some senses this is about power-sharing; how much patients want to be actively involved in care decisions and the extent to which hospital staff allow this to occur. Such a shift in the way hospital care is delivered has to be based on trust and respect,” Professor Chaboyer said.

“The largest American study on PPC found that adverse events in clinical care were reduced by half when patients had a high level of involvement in their care.

“But PPC can be can quite a change for a lot of people. We think it works but we don’t know anything about how much people want to be involved in this kind of care and we don’t know how nurses (who spend the most time with patients) feel about operating in this environment.”

The project

The three-phase project will begin with interviews with patients and nurses to find out how they feel about PPC and possible strategies to implementing the change.

The next phase, led by Griffith health economist Dr Jenny Whitty, will be an experiment in which scenarios will be presented to patients and nurses to explore the preferences for their own care.

The final phase will be developing a framework that can be used by health service providers to better involve patients in their care.

“It’s important we do research on this in Australia, because what works elsewhere may not work here. How we relate to our health professionals and ask questions is always different,” said Professor Chaboyer.