Have you ever heard a health care provider say something such as, “Here’s the gallbladder I was telling you about,” and then they gesture toward a nearby person? Maybe even toward you!
What if you had a season of your life when you saw and heard things that others did not see or hear and you were certain that your life was in danger from unknown others you believed were plotting against you. Would you forever want your selfhood boiled down to one word … schizophrenic? Dr. John Nash, PhD and a Nobel Prize winner in Economics, is a far more complex person than the single word, ‘schizophrenic.’ Yet he experienced that illness.
People are people first. They are far more complex than a single word or an illness that they may experience. Even a mental illness. Words, labels, have power. They serve purposes such as to include, exclude, pass judgment, excuse, vilify, or glorify. Powerful.
Health care is moving away from seeing the patient as an ailment. It is moving away from the ‘Father (or Mother) Knows Best’ model of care delivery. Health care is moving toward an appreciation of the patient as a whole and unique individual. Moving toward providing the patient with information, clarifying and insuring understanding of the information, discussing options, and encouraging the patient - often in concert with their family - to be as full a partner in their own health care decisions as is possible. Psychiatric and mental health care providers are fully engaged in this treatment model shift. We have not completely arrived yet but we are working steadily toward the goal.
WIPA promotes and provides person and family centered health care. This model leads to improved quality of care, improved feelings of patient efficacy, improved patient outcomes and decreased health care costs. Those are good things for all of us people.