Irish healthcare workers react to HSE report focusing on “person-centred care”

The HSE has released a new report, which has asked hospital staff to rethink how they refer to patients.

The report mentions a programme which seeks to personalise the treatment of patients within the healthcare system over the coming months, with eighteen hospitals already committing to the new guidelines.

“In nursing, it’s more about asking the patient what they want to be called. It’s always been that way,” said Liz Roche, Area Director of Nursing and Midwifery planning and development at the HSE.

“Some patients want to be called ‘Mr. Bloggs’ rather than by their first names and vice versa some would rather be called by their first name. It all comes under the umbrella of ‘person-centred care’,” Ms. Roche continued. “It also works in reverse – that is us,as professionals, should be introducing ourselves to patients. There is a big drive called #hellomynameis.’

Amy Mc Grath, 21, is a recently qualified nurse working in Dublin. As a young nurse, she doesn’t predict any personal changes in relation to “person-centred care”.

“We were taught from the beginning not to be using ‘pet names’ with patients because most of them are so much older than us that it can seem patronising,” she told “So, I don’t see it changing how I talk to patients. I think some people will find it difficult but that’s just because it’s in the Irish culture to use ‘lads’ and stuff.”

According to the report, the HSE’s main aim is “to enable a culture of person-centredness within the health and social care system that positively impacts on [the] experience of people who use services, their families and staff.”

“Calling someone ‘love’ or ‘pet’ is seen as being not ‘person-centred’ as you can call it to anyone.”

“People prefer to be called by their own name as they find it more personal and [they feel] that people are trying to get to know them,” said psychiatric nursing student Niall Treacy, 22.

Treacy believes a “balance” should be achieved as “we can’t look at everything in a clinical matter and some informal language around patients may comfort them rather than the constant professionalism.

“It’s a career where compassion is the centre force so the clinical language isn’t always needed and people may find it more comforting to be called ‘love’ or ‘pet’.”

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