Published on: January 31, 2015

Dr Mark Boughey, an internationally acclaimed palliative care physician from Melbourne, Australia, and Dr Katherine Pettus, a human rights activist, lawyer and scholar, affiliated to the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC), were two visitors that Pallium India had for a week.

Dr Boughey talked to the team about patient-centred care. Even before he started, Katherine had a question. She asked in surprise, “What is the alternative? Who else could be at the centre, except for the patient?”

Very valid point. Not only Katherine, but every non-medical person would have the same question in their minds. Why say “patient-centred care” at all? Isn’t that obvious?

Well, Katherine and everyone else, strangely, the patient is usually not at the centre of things. It is the disease, too often. Especially in the last half-century, the introduction of technology and the growth of the healthcare industry have resulted in disease being the focus, at the cost of forgetting the patient.

Frances Carman, our visiting nurse faculty member, pointed out another aspect. Nurses often get so task-oriented that care of the patient becomes subsidiary and the tasks to be finished take the centre.

Sobering thoughts!

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