When clinicians work in partnership with patients and communicate well with other members of the healthcare team to plan and provide care, it can ensure that care is aligned with the patient’s goals of care, their health care needs and considers the effect of the patient’s health issues on their life and wellbeing, and is clinically appropriate.
Communicating to plan care
- Patients have a key role in planning their care
- Effective communication with patients, families and carers is essential to ensure that decisions about treatment and care are shared, clinically appropriate, and reflect the patient’s preferences and goals
- It is important to tailor communications to patients, families and carers health literacy needs and to consider cultural and linguistic factors. This includes considering if an interpreter is needed
- Effective communication between all members of the care team (across disciplines) ensures there is comprehensive care planning and that the care plan reflects the agreed shared goals for care
- Comprehensive care planning includes a shared understanding of roles and responsibilities for patient care
- Documentation of the agreed care plan is essential to support the delivery of safe patient care.
Communicating when providing care
- Effective communication with the patient when providing care, therapy or medication is important to ensure that the right care or treatment is provided, to treat patients with dignity and respect through keeping patients informed about and involved in their care, and to check a patient’s understanding of any information provided
- Communicating with and engaging a patient in their care provides an opportunity for them to partner in their care to the extent that they choose. This contributes to improved patient outcomes
- To deliver comprehensive care, members of the care team need to effectively communicate and collaborate with each other.
Why is it important?
A significant proportion of potentially preventable adverse events are underpinned by failures in communication and team work. Safe, continuous and coordinated care relies on clinicians to partner with their patients, and work together as a team to achieve shared goals and outcomes for patient care.
Essential to this is the need for effective communication and collaboration, between individual clinicians and other members of the healthcare workforce (including managers and administrative staff); across multidisciplinary teams and services; and between healthcare providers and patients, their families and carers.