Health policy, patient-centred care and clinical ethics
Article first published online: 11 AUG 2011
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Special Issue: Philosophy of Evidence Based Medicine
Volume 17, Issue 5, pages 913–919, October 2011
How to Cite
McClimans, Leah. M., Dunn, M. and Slowther, A.-M. (2011), Health policy, patient-centred care and clinical ethics. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 17: 913–919. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2753.2011.01726.x
- Issue published online: 23 SEP 2011
- Article first published online: 11 AUG 2011
- Accepted for publication: 14 June 2011
- clinical ethics;
- health policy;
- moral theory;
- patient-centred care;
- theoretical framework
Rationale, aims and objectives Patient-centred care has been a central part of US and UK health policy for over a decade, but, despite its importance, the policy literature often fails to provide an adequate theoretical justification for why and how we should value it. This omission is problematic because it renders the status, content and appropriate evaluation of patient-centredness unclear. In this paper we aim to examine two different accounts of patient-centred care.
Method We draw upon methods of conceptual and ethical analysis.
Results We argue that neither of the two accounts of patient-centred care identified appropriately grounds patient-centredness because neither of them takes into account the inherently moral nature of terms such as ‘respect’ and ‘dignity’, terms that are central to discussions of patient-centred care.
Conclusions We suggest that clinical ethics can help to provide a theoretical justification for patient-centred care, and that clinical ethical practices can further patient-centred initiatives through ethics consultation, education and policy development and review.