According to the World Health Organization, 80% of non-hospitalized patients suffer from chronic diseases. As already seen, there is a strong tendency in chronic patients not to adhere to the therapy prescribed by their physician, resulting in consequences for both the health of the patient and elevated costs for the national health system. New methods to improve adherence to therapy are being studied in order to reverse this tendency. The easiest and one of the most effective is, without a doubt, therapeutic patient education, or rather, providing patients with the knowledge to understand their condition and, consequently, accept their own personal process of therapy.
Educate. Don’t Force.
The World Health Organization states that therapeutic patient education should enable patients to acquire the abilities and skills needed to optimally manage their lives with the disease. It is important to remember, however, that demographic and epidemiological data show the population is progressively aging. Chronic patients often include elderly patients who have a difficult time understanding the whole picture of their situation. Without having a background in the medical profession, most patients might feel forbidden to do some things and forced to do others, bringing about negative consequences on their adherence to therapy.
It is the job of the doctors and nurses to duly inform patients about their disease, the treatment program that needs to be followed and the possible side effects that may be experienced (one of the main reasons for non-adherence to therapy). The objective of therapeutic patient education is for health care providers to educate their patients, in an organized and structured way, so that the patient becomes more independent and responsible.
Skills patients must be taught include:
- An understanding of the disease and relative treatment;
- Self-monitoring skills;
- Self-care skills;
In order to teach a patient these skills, health care providers must take into consideration the specific characteristics of each patient. A patient’s age and cultural level, for example, are two variables that can greatly influence the educational approach chosen. Furthermore, each patient is unique and health care providers must understand the needs and attributes of each individual and act accordingly.
Patient Support Programs are a source of therapeutic patient education
Patient Support Programs (PSPs) are patient-centered programs that provide customized services for patients with chronic diseases and are useful in offering therapeutic patient education. The staff at Domedica, a leading company in the sector for more than ten years, places dialogue at the foundation of every PSP. The very first step is always to understand the physical and mental state of the patient, his or her personal needs and level of health literacy. Dialogue continues throughout the program, from start to finish, through constant contact aimed at dispelling eventual doubts or fears regarding therapy. The patient can count on a 24-hour support network to answer questions and offer practical advice. House calls and telehealth services are available as well, in order to receive all the information one needs to intelligently carry out therapy. It has been demonstrated that through therapeutic patient education, adherence to therapy improves significantly. We can only hope now that all health care providers will be more and more open to dialogue with their patients.
© Domedica s.r.l.