Tip of the Month
Applying Patient-Centered Care to Hearing Aid Dispensing
When dispensing hearing aids, many clinicians tend to focus on the technological advancements and features in hearing aids in hopes of convincing patients of their benefit. However, emphasizing these topics may not be the most effective consultative approach. Greater fitting success may come from applying the principles of patient-centered care during consultations. Patient-centered care is defined as providing care that is respectful of, and responsive to, the values and needs of the patient and allowing each patient and his/her values guide the course of medical decisions (Institute of Medicine, 2015).
Patient-centered care in audiology should focus more heavily on individuals and their unique needs instead of only highlighting hearing aid technology. Including topics such as the patient’s goals, their support system, hearing loss acceptance, cosmetic preferences, manual dexterity, and mental capacity in hearing aid consultation appointments will help shift the focus to the patient and help him/her feel an active part of the decision-making process. It is important to remember that patient-centered care does not end with the completion of the consultation, it also extends to follow up appointments. Setting appropriate expectations for hearing aid outcomes, discussing a typical follow up schedule, and providing review materials are all ways to continue incorporating patient-centered care in your practice.