Elevate your practice by using the PAT, a person-centred approach to assessment & management.

The PAT is a brief, easy-to-use, clinically relevant client assessment and management tool to be used in dialogue with the client. Designed by global leaders in the field & informed by current evidence, routine use of the PAT enables practitioners to identify & appropriately manage clients at risk for poor outcomes. Key questions boost clients’ levels of satisfaction by promoting realistic expectations of the likely aesthetic & psychological outcomes of treatment and by raising levels of client engagement in treatment decision-making & informed consent.

Routine use of the PAT & its accompanying training resources allows practitioners to meet key European, Australian & British practice recommendations in this sector.

Addressing psychological vulnerability

The majority of individuals pursuing cosmetic surgery procedures are psychologically sound. However, a subset of these individuals may not be in optimal psychological health, and for this group, cosmetic procedures may result in unfavourable outcomes, posing challenges for both the client and the healthcare professional.

Clients may experience a range of issues post-procedure, including demands for additional surgeries, onset or exacerbation of depression and adjustment disorders, social withdrawal, familial discord, engagement in self-harming behaviours, and hostility towards the surgical team.

From the clinician's perspective, these client issues can lead to personal distress, workplace tension, persistent client requests for further surgical interventions, and potential legal repercussions stemming from client dissatisfaction.

The primary challenge for clinicians, therefore, is to accurately identify those clients who, despite a technically successful surgical outcome, may experience poor psychological adjustment and compromised psychosocial functioning post-procedure. This identification should ideally occur prior to surgical intervention to mitigate potential negative outcomes.

Addressing potential litigation

The systematic review by Giudici-Wach et al. (2022) found that the most common issues leading to litigation were insufficient information provided to patients, communication problems between healthcare providers and patients, and a lack of proper documentation. The key factors contributing to informed consent disputes included inadequate patient comprehension, issues with decision-making capacity, and non-disclosure of risks and alternatives.  

The study provided the following recommendations.   

- Enhancing communication between healthcare providers and patients to ensure that patients understand the risks, benefits, and alternatives to a proposed treatment.
- Assessing and addressing the decision-making capacity of patients.
- Providing adequate documentation of the informed consent process.

The PAT is an assessment aid that is designed to enhance communication between the healthcare professional and the patient/client and provide evidence of documentation that the psychosocial aspects have been addressed.

Giudici-Wach, K., Gillois, P., Remen, T., & Claudot, F. (2022). Learning from informed consent litigation to improve practices: A systematic review. Patient Education and Counseling, 105(7), 1714-1721.

Addressing communication

In this systematic review, Levinson et al. (2013) analyse the strengths and areas for improvement in healthcare professional-patient communication, which is critical for patient satisfaction, adherence to treatment plans, and overall healthcare outcomes. 
1. Adopting shared decision-making models: Encouraging collaborative discussions between surgeons and patients to ensure that patient's values and preferences are considered.
2. Enhancing communication skills training: Implementing formal training programs to help healthcare professionals develop effective communication skills, including active listening, empathy, and information sharing.
3. Employing patient-centred communication: Focusing on the individual patient's needs and concerns, as well as addressing their emotional well-being.  

Since the PAT is designed to be used as a dialogue between the healthcare professional and the client, it ensures person-centred communication and shared decision-making models in relation to the psychosocial aspects. Furthermore, we have developed validated training programs for healthcare professionals in psychosocial aspects and communication.    

Levinson, W., Hudak, P., & Tricco, A. C. (2013). A systematic review of surgeon–patient communication: strengths and opportunities for improvement. Patient education and counseling, 93(1), 3-17.