Patient-centered care is common language around healthcare today as it should be. Patients deserve the respect and involvement that is mandated in the patient-centered care movement. From the Wikipedia article on patient-centered care:
In its Declaration on Patient-Centered Healthcare, The International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations (IAPO) states that the essence of patient-centered healthcare is that the healthcare system is designed and delivered to address the healthcare needs and preferences of patients so that healthcare is appropriate and cost-effective. The Declaration sets out five principles of patient-centered healthcare: respect; choice and empowerment; patient involvement in health policy; access and support and information.
…respect; choice and empowerment; patient involvement in health policy; access and support and information.
Why not apply the same approach to the mouth?
The sheer volume of patients suffering from diet-related disease is staggering. There’s little question what our patients eat matters tremendously. It’s naive to expect patients to resist enough of their food cravings to make a meaningful lifestyle change. Walking past an open pint of Ben & Jerry’s requires superhuman willpower.
Enter Taste Bud Centered Care…
If we are to help our patients make necessary lifestyle changes, the following rules must be followed:
- Lead with Deliciousness: The best way to stop craving junk food is to start craving delicious and healthy food. Always push food that tastes amazing.
- Respect: No shaming. Accept people where they are, help them to the next step and help them up without judgement when they slip.
- Choice and Empowerment: Let the patient lead. Is portion control realistic or must they go cold-turkey on indulgences.
- Access to Support and Guidance: Education without guidance wastes everyone’s time. Provide the tools and resources along with a plan to implement them. Emphasize that lifestyle changes are a long game of replacing bad habits with good habits. Be there to see your patients through it.
Lifestyle changes are the hardest
When someone is truly ready to take their diet in a healthy direction they may tolerate nasty food, supplements or challenging diets while changing. But when their cholesterol returns to normal or they reach their goal body weight, they’ll quit.
Taste Bud Centered Care is about sustainable diet changes. You know you’ve succeeded when your patients are excited about vegetables!