Over the past several years, there has been more and more attention given to the idea of evidence-based care in the mental health field. This is the notion that the types of treatment selected and provided should be grounded in science and based upon the best evidence and outcomes. This is an important issue, and we should expect treatment that is effective.
Recently, another concept called etiquette-based care emerged. While care should be grounded in the latest science and effectiveness, it should also be respectful. Etiquette-based care is respectful and responsive to the needs of recipients and their families. Another way of describing it is, as the old saying goes, that we should treat others as we wish to be treated. For example, when I call my doctor, it's only normal to expect a call back within a reasonable period of time (actually, this is true whether it's a call to a neighbor, a work colleague, or my doctor). Etiquette-based care would also suggest that there are no stupid or wrong questions. If I ask my health care provider a question, I should receive a clear and respectful answer as a minimum standard of care.
Person-centered care is another type of quality care. It involves both the best and most effective evidence of what's likely to help a particular health condition and a continuous healing relationship with the provider or health care system. Person-centered care should be the same, whether I'm battling diabetes or depression. Information should be provided to me that informs me about my conditions and all of the available treatment options, so that I can make decisions that direct my care. But that's not enough; evidence and information alone aren't a satisfactory level of care. Health care providers need to offer services that are grounded in reasonable expectations and social graces (etiquette).
So, how can we describe high-quality care? It seems to me that it involves three things: the best evidence of effective treatment, the best information to support my role in guiding my treatment and recovery, and a caring relationship with my provider(s) that's both responsive and respectful. Anything less is substandard care.
Do you know of a mental health provider or facility that follows these standards of high-quality care? I would love to know your recommendations, and I'm sure others reading these blogs would, too. Please let us know at www.DBSAlliance.org/FindAPro. (You even get a small gift for making a recommendation!)
Published On: January 18, 2009
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