What is personalised care?

Personalised care simply means that patients have more control and choice when it comes to the way their care is planned and delivered, taking into account individual needs, preferences and circumstances.

As the complexity and uniqueness of individual needs have changed and expectations towards healthcare have evolved over time, it’s become apparent that there is a fundamental need for personalised care. Choice plays a big factor in everyday life, and that should be no different when it comes to decisions about the care we receive for our physical or mental health.

Dr Ollie Hart talks about what personalised care is, why it’s worth pursuing and how we can mobilise our current system to achieve it.

Personalised care represents a major practical change to the NHS and is a key part of the NHS Long Term Plan. It is a whole system approach that enables a variety of services across the health, social care, public health and community spectrum to be integrated around the individual in order to deliver better outcomes and experiences. It has also led to the creation of a range of new roles that further improve the quality of care that patients receive.

Why do we need personalised care?

Research has shown that when patients have the opportunity to be involved in decision making around personalised healthcare, there are generally better outcomes and experiences and reduced health inequalities. Specific benefits of personalised care include better adherence to medical advice – since the patient was involved in the decision – and increased patient and clinician satisfaction.

  • To be treated as a whole person by professionals they trust
  • To be involved in decisions about their health and care
  • To be supported to manage their own health and well-being, through health coaching, access to self-management programmes and to peer support in the community
  • Their care to feel co-ordinated

The benefits of personalised care

Healthcare practitioners and organisations across the country are increasingly recognising the benefits of personalised care and are working to empower patients to become advocates for their own care plans by developing their knowledge, tools and confidence. Understanding how to deliver personalised care takes time and training, which is why the Personalised Care Institute has launched its world-leading eLearning programme, to support health and care professionals with this.

This shift towards personalised healthcare provides an opportune moment for patients to feel seen, heard, informed and empowered to take back control of their lives. It will only strengthen the relationship between people, health and care professionals and local communities.

What is the personalised care framework?

The NHS has spent the last three years working in partnership with local government, councils, clinicians, professionals and communities to develop a robust model for personalised care. This model consists of six evidence-based components:

Shared decision making (SDM) allows individuals to receive the expert advice and support they need in order to make the right decisions for their own personal health care.

In the SDM process, clinicians and patients work collaboratively to reach a decision about treatment that best suits the patient.

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Supported self-management is a process that uses tools such as the Patient Activation Measure (PAM) to proactively identify the knowledge, skills and confidence people have to manage their own health and care and to support them to grow their expertise and confidence to be more independent. It is particularly helpful for people with long-term conditions.

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Anyone receiving health and social care services can benefit from personalised care and support planning (PCSP). The process, which starts with an initial integrated assessment of the individual’s priorities and then moves through a series of facilitated conversations, ensures that people receive a joined-up holistic plan that takes everything into consideration and suits their needs.

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Social prescribing involves helping patients to improve their health, wellbeing and social welfare by connecting them to non-clinical community services which are often run by a local council or charity.

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Patient choice is designed to ensure that patients are aware of their options and can, where possible and appropriate, select providers and services that meet their individual needs.

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Personal health budgets are another way of taking into account what matters to people and their individual strengths and needs in order to provide the best possible care for that individual.

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Evidence shows that when all six components are delivered together, and in full, patients can take advantage of the full benefits of personalised care.

All patients should:

  • Be seen as a whole person within the context of their whole life, valuing their skills, strengths and experience and important relationships
  • Experience hope and feel confident that the care and support they receive will deliver what matters most to them
  • Be able to access information and advice that is clear, timely and meets their individual information needs and preferences
  • Be listened to and understood in a way that builds trusting and effective relationships with people
  • Be valued as an active participant in conversations and decisions about their health and wellbeing
  • Be supported to understand their care, treatment and support options and, where relevant, to set and achieve their goals
  • Have access to a range of support options including peer support and community-based resources to help build knowledge, skills and confidence to manage their health and wellbeing
  • Experience a coordinated approach that is transparent and empowering

The goal is for 2.5 million people to have benefitted from personalised care by 2023/24

The PCI is helping to deliver on this with our own mission of training 75,000 health and care professionals via our eLearning platform and our accredited training partners.

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