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For the patient to start playing an active role in their care, it is essential that they are given clear information about their illness. Experience has shown that a well-informed patient is better able to monitor their treatment and will feel more satisfied with their overall care journey.
At Geneva University Hospitals, patients and their relatives are included in discussions aimed at improving the quality of services and care. Ensuring communication is based on dialogue, listening, empathy, and appreciation of the other's expertise, outside of healthcare settings, is the first step in establishing a positive partnership between patients and the HUG.
In its Vision 20/20 strategic plan for 2015-2020, the HUG has identified nine priority projects. The Patients as Partners project is one of them. It seeks to develop an institutional culture of partnership that promotes increased collaboration between patients, their caregivers and professionals, in every aspect of healthcare, from the medical side to hospitality, training, governance and research.
Now better and better informed, patients and professionals are encouraged to engage in dialogue, with a focus on sharing expertise to improve hospital stays and care. The 'patientpartner' is an expert patient, fellow citizen and peer practitioner. They bring to the table their experience as a hospital user and their knowledge of the illness and treatments. They can encourage and guide "novice" patients and give their opinion on health policies.
The project includes meetings attended by 316 patients over nearly two years on topics as varied as the hospital treatment pathway, full hip replacements, the role of family members, and social and environmental responsibility. The initiative will continue to develop, in particular with the organization of a patient committee. Ultimately, the goal is to turn this one project from the strategic plan into a program for the long-term.