Knowledge Tree

Podcast Episode: People as Partners in Care

Podcast Series: Care During and Beyond the Covid-19 Crisis

Presenters: Anne Hendry, Audrey Birt, Graham Kramer, Roseann Logan, Larissa Verissimo, Donald Macaskill, Anne Mills

There is a growing imperative to place people and communities, and what matter to them, at the centre of health and care services. The World Health Organisation (WHO) emphasises the need to engage and empower people as partners in creating and maintaining their health and wellbeing. The Astana Declaration (2018) advocates for policies that embed integrated care in strong, community-oriented and community led primary care. This is particularly important for people with multiple health conditions and/ or care needs managed by different providers, often through many unconnected episodes of care. Continuity and collaborative care, through planning, monitoring and review are essential if we are to achieve what really matters to the person, their family and carers. This requires the right information, advice and health literacy support to help people to understand their conditions and how to live well. However, the realisation of these aspirations remains elusive. Professional culture and practice are notoriously slow to change, and it is highly probable that the citizen movement will grow to such an extent that the health and care system will be forced to be held accountable. The design of our health and care systems needs to be a process that is shared with citizens and patients. Power is shifting as never before – ‘New Power’ is addressing a vital issue for our times: how to make the voices and choices of all, not just a few, count for something.

In tackling COVID-19 we – citizens, patients, carers and professionals together – need to recognise that our actions will only be effective if people are engaged, informed, and supported to look after their own health and wellbeing, reducing demand on services, whilst at the same time ensuring they understand when they should seek help.

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