Patient guardians as an instrument for person centered care

Lopa Basu, Ruben Frescas, Humphrey Kiwelu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Person-centered care involves keeping the person at the center of the care planning and decision-making process. While the theory behind person-centered care is commonly shared, its application in healthcare settings is more challenging. In a number of African countries, a lesson emerges involving the application of person-centered care through the use of patient guardians. Patient guardians, often family or close friends, act as an extension of the patient's hospital care team. Medical teams engage with these self-designated individuals who invest their time and efforts in the care of the patient. More importantly, the guardian continues this role and relationship when the patient is released from the hospital to return home. Healthcare workers view patient guardians as a valuable resource. In a structured manner, guardians become stewards of information regarding topics such as hand hygiene and infection control. The knowledge gained can help the recovering patient upon discharge and potentially spread the information to others in the community. Further study of this model may show clear applicability to help improve health literacy in underserved settings in both low-income and high-income countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number33
JournalGlobalization and health
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 8 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Advocacy
  • Global partnerships
  • Health worker force
  • Patient centered care
  • Patient education
  • Patient guardian
  • Reverse innovation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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