Principles of care

Find out more about using the clinical care standards and the principles of care underpinning their use. 

Principles of care underpinning the clinical care standards

Person-centred care

Person-centred care is health care that is respectful of, and responsive to, the preferences, needs and values of patients and consumers. 

Clinical care standards support the key principles of person-centred care, namely:

  • Treating patients with dignity and respect

  • Encouraging patient participation in decision-making

  • Communicating with patients about their clinical condition and treatment options

  • Providing patients with information in a format that they understand so they can participate in decision-making.

For further information, see the Commission's resources on person-centered care

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, care should be provided in a way that is respectful of, and responsive to, cultural beliefs and practices, while recognising the disparities faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

For further information, see the Commission's User Guide to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

Multidisciplinary care

During a hospital admission and following discharge from hospital, patients are likely to need specific types of care provided by various clinicians. In this document, the term ‘clinician’ refers to all types of health professionals who provide direct clinical care to patients. Multidisciplinary care refers to comprehensive care provided by different clinicians (for example, neurologists, cardiologists, radiologists, general practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, physiotherapists, speech pathologists and other allied health professionals) from one or more organisations, who work collectively with the aim of addressing as many of a patient’s health and other needs as possible.

A coordinated multidisciplinary team approach is essential for improving the care delivered to patients with stroke. Multidisciplinary care of patients can improve health outcomes, and offers more efficient use of health resources. Planning, coordination and regular communication between clinicians are essential components of multidisciplinary care.

Carers and family members

Carers and family members play an important role in prevention, early recognition, assessment and recovery relating to a patient’s health condition. They often know the patient very well and can provide detailed information about the patient’s history, routines or symptoms, which may assist in determining treatment and ongoing support.

Although clinical care standards do not specifically refer to carers and family members, each quality statement should be understood to mean that carers and family members are involved in clinicians’ discussions with patients about their care, if the patient prefers carer involvement.

Integrated approach to care

An integrated, systems-based approach supported by health service organisations and their networks is central to the delivery of person-centred care as identified in this clinical care standard. The workforce will need access to policies, processes and procedures.

Key elements of an integrated approach include:

  • Understanding the capacity and limitations of each component of the healthcare system across metropolitan, regional, rural and remote settings

  • Developing clear lines of communication between components of the healthcare system, including primary care, hospital, subacute and community services

  • Ensuring appropriate coordination so that patients receive prompt access to the best possible care, regardless of how or where they enter the system.

To achieve these aims, health service organisations implementing this standard may need to:

  • Deploy an active implementation plan and feedback mechanisms

  • Include agreed protocols and guidelines, decision support tools and other resource material

  • Employ a variety of incentives and sanctions to influence behaviours, and encourage compliance with policies, protocols, regulations and procedures education, training and orientation.

Using the clinical care standards

Clinicians are advised to use clinical judgement and consider an individual patient’s circumstances, in consultation with the patient, or their carer or guardian, when applying the information in this clinical care standard.

Health service organisations are responsible for ensuring that local policies, processes and protocols to guide clinical practice are in place. This enables clinicians and health service organisations to apply the information described in the clinical care standard and monitor the delivery of appropriate care.

Disclaimer for use of the clinical care standards

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care produces clinical care standard to support the delivery of appropriate care for defined conditions.  Each clinical care standard is based on the best evidence available at the time of development.  Healthcare professionals are advised to use clinical discretion and consideration of the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian, when applying information contained within a clinical care standard.  Consumers should use the clinical care standard as a guide to inform discussions with their healthcare professionals about the applicability of the clinical care standard to their individual condition.

There may be revisions to the clinical care standards from time to time. Please check for any amendments.

The Commission does not accept any legal liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by the use of, or reliance on, a clinical care standard.

Copyright and citing the clinical care standards

With the exception of any material protected by a trademark, any content provided by third parties, and where otherwise noted, all material presented in this publication is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence

The preferred citation for each clinical care standard is defined in the {inside front cover}.