Caring for chronic conditions
New research examines the person-centred care delivered to patients with chronic health conditions during consultation with complementary medicine practitioners.
Chronic conditions require various forms of long-term care that holistically address patients’ individual health needs and improve their quality of life.
As such, many patients with chronic conditions seek additional care outside mainstream medicine.
New research examines the experiences of patients with chronic conditions who consult both complementary and conventional medicine.
Led by Hope Foley, PhD Candidate from the Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ARCCIM), this project investigated the experiences of patients who use complementary medicine for their chronic conditions.
Foley found that patient perceptions of person-centred care in complementary medicine were more favourable than in conventional medicine.
“Our study demonstrated quite consistently that patients with chronic conditions have strong experiences of person-centred care with their complementary medicine practitioners, often in ways they aren't experiencing with their regular doctor,” Foley says.
“While our sample size was modest, the consistency of the results is very promising.”
The holistic philosophies of complementary medicine are well-aligned with person-centred care, and our study showed that the complementary medicine practitioners are filling those person-centred needs.
Hope Foley, PhD Canditate
The research found that aspects of person-centred care for chronic conditions - including empathy, communication and respectful treatment - were characteristic of clinical consultation with complementary medicine practitioners.
Foley says that this could have a significant effect on patients as well as health care systems.
“The holistic, person-centred approach of complementary medicine professions could present a valuable resource to reduce the public health burden of chronic conditions and improve the quality of life for people living with them.”
“Person-centred care is an ideal paradigm to meet patients’ needs in chronic conditions, while also informing health care providers and public health policy makers who are tasked with managing the impact of chronic conditions on patients, communities and health systems.”
However, further research is required, as patients with chronic conditions require multiple sources of care to manage their complex needs.
“Chronic conditions can be very complex and the long-term duration means these patients need ongoing, multifaceted, personalised care - both to manage the condition itself, and to manage their quality of life,” Foley says.
“We hope that this study will generate more examination of the important role that complementary medicine practitioners can play in meeting the wider health needs of individuals with chronic conditions.”
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