Too time-consuming?

The myth

With time a scarce commodity as it is, some fear that a person-centered approach would mean spending even more time with each client.

The reality

Person-centered care does not need to entail longer appointments. It can actually help you save time by allowing you to quickly uncover your client's core challenges and needs.

Yes, person-centered care requires an investment in training. However, this investment can save your clinic time in the long-run, as you can reduce return visits and see more clients.

"Some people think person-centered care would be really time-consuming, but I don't personally feel that it is. There are ways around the expense of time. It doesn't have to take a lot longer just because you are focusing on the client as opposed to your predefined goals."

Did you know?

Allowing people with hearing loss to speak uninterrupted at the beginning of an appointment adds very little time to the overall appointment. Just two minutes of uninterrupted listening is enough time to allow 80% of clients the time to express their story. 

(Langewitz et al. 2002)

More effective appointments

Using a person-centered approach does not necessarily lead to longer appointments. It is more about rethinking the balance between who listens and who speaks during the appointment. Person-centered care involves sharing complete and unbiased information with people in a way that allows them to participate in their care. Moreover, it is about ensuring that they have time to fully express their needs and be heard during the appointment. You should not fear allowing your client to speak uninterrupted at the start of the consultation. By taking the time to understand their unique needs and journey with hearing loss, you can improve the overall effectiveness of your time with them.  In a way, it is about turning the goals of the appointment upside down and reprioritizing the entire appointment. Instead of focusing on completing all of your tasks, the main goal is to understand what each person wants to take away from their visit. 
 “… if you use the [Ida] tools appropriately, and make the consultation very person-centered, it doesn't take any more time to use these questioning methods than feeling you have to go through a whole list of things that really isn't very helpful… If you can provide the space to get things out of the client, then [using the Ida tools] does not really take more time from the appointment.”  

Did you know?

It has been reported that clients who perceived that their visit had been person-centered received fewer diagnostic tests, and referrals in the subsequent two months. (Stewart et al. 2000)

Save time in the long run

A person-centered approach emphasizes the importance of shared decision making. In the consultation, you and the client are equal partners in developing a strategy for moving forward. This means respecting the person's values, intelligence, preferences, and expressed needs. This approach can help ensure that the client owns and buys into the strategy, thus improving the likelihood that the strategy is followed and completed without setbacks. Creating a shared strategy will ultimately save time.
“There was a client that was coming back to our department every two weeks for almost a year and always with the same problem. Recently I took one long, person-centered appointment with her, where I simply listened to her and tried to figure out where the problem actually lay. In this one person-centered appointment, I feel that we made more progress than we would have made in a whole year.”
“We spend an hour discussing which hearing aid would be the best for our clients and we really listen to the client. Most shops would think this hour is not profitable, but we think a little bit more long-term. We know that if we spend the time in the beginning, we will save time in the long run.”

Did you know?

People with hearing loss often make direct or indirect comments about personal aspects of their lives or emotions. Not picking up on these emotional “clues” can often increase the time spent with each client, since it takes longer to identify their underlying motivation to take action and their daily challenges.  (Levinson et al. 2000)

Invest in your staff

While no extra time is required in the appointment to implement a person-centered approach, you do need to invest time and resources to train staff members. Such training is a worthwhile investment. Person-centered care has shown to improve staff satisfaction at their workplace. Staff morale and satisfaction is crucial to the long-term success of a hearing care practice. A satisfied and loyal staff can lead to improved retention rates. This can reduce the amount of resources required to constantly train new people.  Creating a workplace that emphasizes the value of collaboration and listening to clients can help create an enhanced learning environment for current clinicians and clinicians in training. It can also help improve overall communication among staff members, as clinicians understand the value of active listening.
“I believe a person-centered approach might make people more proud of where they work and I think it might then breed greater loyalty."
“For me, if a practice was more person-centered, I would find my job even more satisfying and I would find the environment better.” 
“I think a person-centered care approach can contribute to staff members being more satisfied with their work.”

Did you know?

A 1999 Press Ganey study identified employees’ pride in their workplace, along with open communication and exceptional management practices, to be more relevant to employee satisfaction than wages, benefits, and the work environment. (Press Ganey 1999)