Education

A new approach

There are a growing number of health professionals who are starting to feel torn between their patients’ needs and the system they’re working in. Maybe you’re one of them.

Being a healthcare provider has never been more difficult. A growing number of older adults have complex medical conditions. These patients and their families are increasingly burdened by a daunting array of assessments, investigations, and treatments, delivered through a rigid system that typically addresses only one issue at a time.

You’ve no doubt experienced frustration when a patient’s health deteriorates to such a degree that the recommended therapies don’t seem to address their needs. You’ve probably seen frail patients become worse with standard care interventions, much to the surprise and dismay of everyone involved.

You may be wondering about the best way to:

  • Gain a holistic understanding of health status and frailty
  • Communicate the significance of frailty to patients and/or their families
  • Identify which treatments will help in a given situation and which will not
  • Help frail older patients and their families make complex medical/surgical decisions that best preserve their experience
  • Use team resources more effectively and efficiently to deliver care that really matters

If you have questions like these, you’ve come to the right place.

The very first PATH trainees had these questions too. They described their challenges with the status quo as follows:

The PATH approach to frailty

Part of the problem with the status quo stems from how healthcare providers approach frailty. There are multiple definitions of frailty in medicine and frailty is also a term that exists in the public domain. Thus, it’s no surprise that everyone has a different idea of what frailty means. For instance, when healthcare providers are presented with a case of a patient with multiple health issues and cognitive impairment, they rarely agree on how frail the person is or what treatments are relevant. If we’re not all speaking the same language, how can we provide patients and families with a unified and effective message?

You may have experienced some of the other pitfalls of conventional team-based care in frailty, where each assessment uses discipline-specific language and ultimately repeats the steps of previous assessments instead of building on the work of others to create a cogent story of health. Despite these multiple assessments, important parts of the story are often missing, such as a full understanding of cognition. The end result is a fragmented list of discipline-specific recommendations, which makes it difficult to develop a fully holistic plan that considers the implications of declining health.

PATH inspires providers to achieve a collective shift in attitude. We ask health professionals to adjust their discipline-specific focus and embrace a new methodology that expands their scope of practice. This approach improves efficiency, decreases redundancy, and generates a more complete picture of health. Once health status is clarified, the training explores how to help patients and/or their families make decisions about surgery, medical interventions, dialysis, nursing home placement, and end-of-life care that are appropriate to their frailty burden.

In short, PATH puts health professionals in the best position to help patients and their families understand and cope with their health issues. Click here to Get Started today!

Here is what professionals like you had to say about their PATH training: