APA’s Core Patient Principals

The Australian Patients Associations Core Patient Values describes the rights of patients and people operating within a safe, high quality Australian Health Care system.

The APA Core Values are based on Australian and State based Charters of Healthcare Rights. They are also based on international Human Rights which recognises everyone’s right to have the highest possible standard on mental and physical healthcare.

The APA Core Patient Values and the APA Patient Principles that flow from those Core Patient Values defines patients, consumers, families, carers and services providing rights and responsibilities within the Australian Health Care system.

A patient’s background, cultural or other identities must never be treated as a barrier to care. Australians and all under the care of Australia have an equal right to safe, high quality health care provided with professional care, skill and competence to address their healthcare needs regardless of their status, location or ability to pay. A “fair go for all” is an Australian ethical and cultural imperative.

Patient Principles: Universal Health Care, Accessible and Available Healthcare

Patient Respect is demonstrated by interactions between a patient and health care providers whereby the patient is shown respect for their personal culture, beliefs, values and characteristics. The health provider is required take the time and make a genuine effort to understand the values, needs and concerns of the patient and to respond to those values, needs and concerns in a timely, appropriate and professional manner which the patient can understand and where possible approve. Wherever possible, a patient’s health care wishes, needs and informed treatment options must be informed, determined and followed. The patient’s views are required to be sought, discussed and form part of an informed, collaborative health care decision-making processes to receive or refuse treatment. Healthcare providers have ethical and legal responsibilities to provide to provide quality, independent advice and services in the best interests of the patient which does minimal harm. Patients have the right to seek an alternative or second opinion.

Patient Principles: Personalized Care, Patient Involvement, Informed Choice, Informed Consent, Minimal Harm.

A patient’s lifestyle and their lifestyle aspirations are part of a health, illness or treatment assessment. Personalized health, using new validated technologies, should be supported and encouraged in order to ensure individual care is efficient and effective and matched to the patient’s health and lifestyle needs and supports their social wellbeing. Care Plans should reflect those personal choices.

Patient Principles: Patient Input, Personal Choice, Quality of Life, Personalised Care, Care Plans.

A collaborative partnership between the patients and health care provider is the best approach to prevention, treatment and the provision of quality health care. Health care providers must accept that there is both an equal and professional relationship with the patient. Health care discussions should include a focus on treatment, prevention, and education with the goal of minimizing adverse health outcomes or ongoing health concerns. Patients must be given accurate and reliable information on which, wherever possible, to give their Informed Medical Consent. Information for patient management must be sent promptly to all involved parties. Where required accredited interpreter services must be provided.

Patient Principles: Patient-Health Professional Partnerships, Authorative Information, Minimal Harm, Informed Medical Consent.

Minimal out of pocket health care costs and Bulk Billing is encouraged. Scheduled Fees should be published. All costs and related expenses must be disclosed. Patients require cost information to be reasonable, transparent and provided and within 15% of the lowest and highest cost estimates for the same service. Health providers should be open and substantiate their fees setting decisions. Private Health Insurance providers should provide their members with no and low gap providers for medical and hospital services. Overcharging, over servicing and low value services should be called out. There must never be “Bill Shock”.

Patient Principles: Bulk Billing, Schedule Fees, Cost Ranges, Gap Payments, Private Health Insurance, Informed Financial Consent, Overcharging, Over servicing, Bill Shock.

Patients acknowledge that there are multiple sources of data retained about them, their conditions, treatment, care pathways and outcomes. Patients have a right to privacy and confidentiality about their personal information. Patients should have the right to opt in or out of the storage and use of their data. Patients expect de-identification of their data unless otherwise agreed as well as open disclosure as to who and when their data is accessed and if their data is on sold to other companies. Personalized data cannot be used or forwarded without the patients consent. Data must never be used or provided to discriminate between patients. Patients have a right not to be participate in research projects and may if desired withdraw from a research project at any time

Patient Principles: Privacy, Patient Data, Use of Data, Disclosure, Patient Control, Opt In – Opt Out.

Patients have Guardians, the right to appoint a Carer or grant a Medical Power of Attorney to represent their interests and make decisions on their behalf. They should be treated inclusively in all health discussions with care providers, state government agencies, local councils, and other organisations that interact with people in care relationships. Health providers should discuss the role of the advocate with patients and review all options to ensure the patient and their advocates have a shared understanding of their respective roles and responsibilities.

 Patient Principles: Medical Guardians, Medical Carers, Medical Power of Attorney, Advocate Support.

Patients should be told clearly and compassionately about their prognosis and allowed to consider all options for later and final stages of life care. Advanced Care Directives should be routinely organized in conjunction with the patient and their advocates. Health practitioners should counsel the patient, family members and advocates about the patients’ choices and their implications. If unable to do so, the health practitioner should facilitate a colleague or associate to provide direction in such matters. Just as a person has a good life with choices a person should be allowed to have a dignified, gentle and thoughtful final farewell of their choosing. The end of life for one can transform the life on another with organ and tissue donation. Patients are encouraged to use the Australian Organ Donor Register to specify which organs and/or tissues they are willing to donate.

Patient Principles: Advanced Care Directives, Voluntary Assisted Dying, Organ Donation.

Patients have a right to be involved in the planning, design and evaluation of healthcare services. Patients are encouraged to share their ideas and experiences. Patients have a right to give positive and negative feedback, ask questions, make complaints or take legal action. Where applicable, Healthcare providers should resolve patient concerns and complaints in a prompt, open, serious and fair manner. The APA can provide support and direction for patient concerns and complaints and referral to supportive advocacy organisation. The APA encourages and facilitates patient input and improved medical outcomes through its forums, surveys and community consultation committees. The APA provides patients and their advocates with information, tools and resources to enable better informed choices. Patients are required to provide accurate information on matters effecting their healthcare, cooperate, participate and follow treatment were able, keep appointments as scheduled and treat healthcare provider with courtesy and respect. The APA publications, web site and Help Line are provided to assist patients and their advocates. The APA is the voice of Australian Patients and undertakes information campaigns and advocacy on their behalf. Patient, advocate and organisational involvement is encouraged.

Patient Principles: Patient Feedback, Patient Information, Patient Advocacy.

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