Giving a Voice to People Who Have Chronic Illnesses
People who live with chronic, life-limiting illness have unique perspectives on health and health-care. They often struggle with complex healthcare needs and concerns related to their symptoms and daily functioning, as well as quality of life and end-of-life considerations. However, their unique concerns and perspectives are often not fully revealed through routine assessments.
Dr. Richard Sawatzky, Canada Research Chair in Person-Centered Outcomes, is examining the use of assessment tools to bring patient's perspectives into the core of health-care decision-making. He is focusing on patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) to more effectively assess people’s health and quality-of-life concerns. The use of PROMs provides patients with an opportunity to report on important aspects of their illness experiences, including their symptoms, daily functioning, and psychological, social, and spiritual or existential well-being.
Sawatzky is examining the development and use of PROM systems, including electronic and tablet-based technologies, to inform hospital- and community-based health-care.
By making it easier to integrate PROMs in health-care, Sawatzky’s research will allow patients’ perspectives to be incorporated in health-care decision-making. This will provide healthcare professionals with additional information to conduct day-to-day care and to evaluate health-care services on an ongoing basis.
Sawatzky’s research will lead to giving patients with life-limiting illnesses greater voices in health-care decisions, which should result in improved health outcomes and reduced suffering.