Lauren’s Story, Part 5: Patient Centered Care



Written by: Lauren – Guest Blogger sharing her perspective as a VA employee and patient during her second pregnancy.

Hello! I am now 16 weeks, my morning sickness has gotten a little better and I am feeling a little more energetic. Thank you, second trimester!

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So in my last blog I talked about patient education, and I decided to “educate” myself by attending a seminar last weekend about the birth care system in this country. The argument of the presenter was that some of what happens in the birth care system is “broken.”

Some highlights: In the U.S., our cesarean section rates are much higher than the World Health Organization’s recommendations, we pay a lot for maternity care but still have high maternal death rates and infant mortality rates, and some women don’t necessarily feel in control of the birthing process. So, during this seminar the panel was talking about how we fix this issue. One woman made a comment that maternity care should be centered around the mother, and there should be a place where women can go to see all the people they might need during maternity care like a social worker, dietitian etc. And I am sitting there thinking: you are describing what VA does for Veterans!

Think about it: VA focuses on “patient centered care.” That is our buzzword and what we strive for every day. We also have “patient aligned care teams” where your primary care team consists of a provider, nurse, social worker, and sometimes a pharmacist and dietitian. An entire team dedicated to the Veteran.

I wanted so badly to raise my hand and tell these women all about the great things VA does and how VA can be a model for patient centered care for the private sector, but I didn’t. I realize the VA doesn’t handle hands-on maternity care and definitely doesn’t have labor and delivery units. However, I can see how if VA were to have those kinds of services, they would be patient centered.

It was an epiphany realizing how VA strives for different goals than private industry and more importantly why VA has different goals. Because at the end of the day it is about providing specialized, patient centered care to our Veterans.

About Lauren

lauren_wLauren is a Navy Veteran and current Public Affairs Specialist at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center in West Virginia. Throughout her second pregnancy, she will be sharing her thoughts and experiences as a patient at VA. We are all excited to follow her on this healthcare journey!

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