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At the completion of this chapter, the reader will be able to:

  1. Discuss the differences between values and beliefs

  2. List some of the most common negative biases of healthcare workers

  3. Provide some examples of nonverbal communication

  4. Define empathy

  5. Discuss the importance of health equity and cultural competency among healthcare providers

  6. Describe what health disparity is

  7. List the five steps to achieving cultural competence

  8. Discuss the importance of infection control in healthcare

  9. Describe some of the microorganisms that can be encountered in healthcare and their various modes of transmission

  10. List some of the precautions that must be used with special populations


Patient care is a partnership between a patient and the clinician—it is something a clinician does with a patient, not to a patient. The primary focus of patient care is to enhance a patient’s function through positive interactions, with each interaction having an objective. In some cases, this involves helping a patient to regain former skills, whereas in other cases, it may involve teaching a patient ways to compensate for the loss of a physical or mental attribute. Generally speaking, most interventions aim to increase either a patient’s mobility or a patient’s stability. Determining the focus or objective requires clinical decision making (see Chapter 3) and preparation.


Essential for patient care preparation is the knowledge of several general principles, so that patient and clinician safety is ensured. For example, having to leave a patient unguarded to retrieve a piece of equipment must be avoided at all times. All equipment is required to be inspected before use. Suppose a piece of equipment is found to be malfunctioning. In that case, correct procedures must be followed: labeling the piece of equipment as defective and reporting the defect to the appropriate personnel, such as the clinical engineering department.


Often, a healthcare team, made up of many different professions, plays a role in reviewing a patient’s condition and making decisions (see Chapter 1). This patient-centered interprofessional collaboration, which is more common outside the outpatient work areas, enhances problem-solving and care coordination. In most cases, team conferences involving members from each discipline (nursing, social services, etc.) are held on the patient’s behalf. In addition to these discussion meetings, it is not unusual for fellow professionals to cotreat a patient. For example, a patient who has undergone hip replacement is often cotreated by physical therapy and occupational therapy. The advantage of cotreatment is that it reduces duplication of treatments, enhances input from different professionals, and often results in interventions for complex problems that exceed what an individual profession could accomplish. Another example of cotreatment occurs when a physical therapist (PT) and a physical therapist assistant (PTA) work together with the same patient. The PT examines the patient, provides a plan of care (POC), establishes the goals or ...

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