Evaluating Person-Centered Care

To make person-centered care (PCC) a truly integrated part of clinical practice, a fundamental shift is needed – a shift that starts with the next generation of practitioners: the students. 

Despite the growing evidence-base for benefits of PCC in audiology, recent studies reveal a gap between theory and clinical practice, showing that PCC is rarely adopted during hearing care consultations (Grenness et al., 2015). The discipline of audiology originally developed from a biomedical model of care with a lot of emphasis on pathology, site of lesion tests, and diagnostics. Therefore, the focus of the profession and the associated training programs has largely been on technical competencies, and less so on person-centeredness and communication. 

In academic settings, barriers exist that prevent a focus on person-centered communication skills. These can include time constraints, lack of funding, and shortages of educators (Tai et al., 2018). Ultimately, from a consumer perspective, it is important to reflect on the fact that technical skills are assumed, but interactional skills are valued.

To ensure that students understand the essence and value of PCC and master its fundamental principles as they graduate, the approach needs to be taught and measured as a required competence. But how do you measure and grade a student on person-centeredness? As with any other skillset, PCC can actually be measured according to a rubric, i.e. a “coherent set of criteria for student’s work that includes description of levels of performance quality on the criteria" (Brookhart, 2013).

On this page, we have gathered a series of sample rubrics to demonstrate how it can be done. The rubrics were developed by Ida’s university partners to ensure that their students have the required PCC skillsets as they graduate. Each set of rubrics has been built to fit a unique academic program. They are shared here for inspiration and to stimulate discussion within and between academic programs. 

Rubrics from the University of Pretoria

At the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at the University of Pretoria, the students are evaluated according to the five stages of the Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes taxonomy (Biggs and Collins, 1982; Biggs and Tang 2007). To ensure that PCC becomes an explicit part of the evaluation, the department has worked to integrate specific rubrics to assess the student’s ability to show empathy, demonstrate active listening, reflect, provide support, etc. See how their evaluation form has been modified to integrate PCC skills. 

Rubrics from the Utah State University

At Utah State University, the Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education has developed a counselling performance feedback form that includes rubrics to evaluate such skills as nonverbal communication, encouragement, ability to ask open-ended questions, reflection skills, collaboration skills, and validation. Download the feedback form for further details.

Rubrics from the University of Southampton

At the University of Southampton, their practical audiology workbook includes specific objectives for interviewing and goal setting with a simulated patient. The workbook includes rubrics that explicitly evaluate PCC fundamentals, such as involving communication partners in the rehabilitation, exploring key aspects of the client’s life, listening attentively, etc. 

Download extract from the practical workbook.