Make patient centred community care a reality

How we develop sustainable patient centric community care policies and still meet the demands of key stakeholders was a key question at the heart of the discussions at Health First conference on ‘Making Patient-centred community care a Reality’.

In collaboration with the Latvian Presidency of the EU, the event was a launching ground for a Declaration from the Latvian Presidency to facilitate commitment from Member States to an EU policy on community care that supports and empowers patients, nurses and informal carers to access innovations outside of acute settings.

Solvita Zvidriņa, Secretary of State for Health, Latvia, , opened the event and reminded  participants the focus of Latvia during their term has been on healthy lifestyles, innovation and ehealth, and early diagnosis and screening of cancer.

Her main remarks focused on the need for community care, stating, “I am quite confident that there is a real need to focus on the patient and coordinating care at all levels“.

Panel 1: Instituting dedicated community care for patients in Europe

Discussions raised questions in regard to health policy agenda priorities, from both the Latvian and Luxembourg Presidencies, core definitions of community care and finance policies.

Presenting priorities of the upcoming Luxembourg Presidency, Ms. Laura Valli said patients will be at the centre of their work with a focus on personalised medicine, dementia and implementation of the Cross-border healthcare directive. This work will tie into various Commission activities:

  • resilient health systems and
  • health systems performance assessment

Panel 2: Partnering for patient centred community care- Role and demands of stakeholders

The second panel included representatives of various stakeholder communities, showcased personal experiences highlighting the importance of the Health First Europe roadmap for community care.

E.g.  John Dunne, President of EUROCARERS, emphasised the importance of ‘informal carers’ in  health systems, asking a poignant question to the audience – “What happens if the state promotes a patients’ rights agenda in principle, but leaves it to informal carers to deliver?”

Ms. Marina Lupari, the Royal College of Nurses. advocated “community care” as opposed to “primary care” because primary care is often associated only with GPs and not with all care settings outside of a building (i.e. at home).

She advocated for better information (dissemination & sharing) channels and early assessment procedures on behalf of the nursing community. Ms. Lupari stressed the cost effectiveness and compatibility of enhancing ‘out-of-building’ support systems.

Mr. Paul Buchanan, Founder of TeamGB, brought a more personal and concrete account to daily care and potentials of social media for supporting patients to monitor their conditions in the community. Mr. Buchanan’s own battle with Type 1 diabetes saw him speak to what does and doesn’t work when it comes to health systems communicating to patients about chronic conditions. He suggested that health systems “don’t fit with lived experience“.

Key outcomes were the launch by the Latvian Presidency of the Declaration on “Making Patient Centred Community Care a Reality” where the Presidency called on the European Commission to invest in a dedicated policy for community care to:

  • Increase preventive care in the community
  • Facilitate access to innovation for patients in the community setting
  • Support training of healthcare professionals in the community
  • Promote integrated care across all points of patient care
  • Strengthen the governance of integrated care

Key contributors and participants agreed the community care is the future for all citizens and we need to ensure now that high quality care can be delivered to patients where and how they want it. …more

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