PATIENT AND FAMILY CONCERNS

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Illness involves both a social and biological process. Thus, family members, as well as their influences, play a significant role in the treatment process in participating with decision making and giving an opinion on treatment aspects. A family member can provide additional or more information about the patient whereby this information can prove vital in the treatment and care of the patient. Thus, my recommendations are that physicians, clinicians and other healthcare providers should be knowledgeable about the social and cultural factors that surround proper understanding of a patient and the functions of these factors in the decision-making process. Thus, it is crucial for them to expand the paradigm by including family members and their influence towards the treatment process. The involvement of family members has proven to be an effective and efficient method of attaining proper treatment and health care. Family and patient concerns do directly relate to clinical significance especially in the way which family members provide information about the patient’s history and aspects that he or she has suffered before. The family members also participate in the decision-making process which health to enhance health care services and treatment.

By involving family members, they will be practicing a patient -centered medicine. Clinicians engaging in evidence-based medicine have to be knowledgeable about the cultural and special factors that impact each encounter of healthcare. The nurses have to understand the vital role of family members in making healthcare decisions as well as the expansion of EBM paradigm of involving the sociocultural influences in an explicit way. Furthermore recognizing the family member’s influences in making decisions related to treatment contributes to an effective and efficient health care. There is almost fifty percent of healthy outpatients aged from 65 years old and above will have a form of family involvement in deciding their medical care (Sayers, White, Zubritsky, Oslin,  2006). The very ill patients suffering from diabetics and cancer will mean that family involvement increases in their care (Siminoff et al., 2008). Family members have a significant role for such patients. Lewis et al. show that over one-third of cancer patients cite coworkers, friends and family members as their main courses of clinical information (Lewis et al., 2009).

However, literature fails significantly to address the family member’s impact on medical and health decision making. However, the existing research shows that EBM has to account for the duality of defining illness as both a social and biological process especially in diagnosis and treatment of the diseases. Thus, there is a need to include the sociocultural aspects that affect care such as patient values, family influence, and their preferences. Studies also show that family members do get involved in clinical encounters and give their opinions. They also take part in treatment decision making. For example, a family member can influence care by informing the physician how the patient presents her / his illness and the kind of treatment the patient has been using.

Therefore, as clinicians go ahead in adopting evidence-based approaches to care and treatment of patients they should not forget the fact that an illness is both a psychological and social aspect as well as a biological aspect. They should not concentrate on biological reductionism of illness, but they should adhere to the steps of evaluating a patient and involving the patient and his family members in the establishment of a treatment plan.

 

References

Sayers S, Zubritsky C, White T, Oslin D (2006): Family involvement in the care of healthy medical outpatients. Fam Pract. 23: 317-324. 10.1093/fampra/cmi114.

Siminoff L, Zyzanski J, Rose H, Zhang Y (2008) The Cancer Communication Assessment Tool for Patients and Families (CCAT-PF): a new measure. Psychooncology.  17: 1216-1224. 10.1002/pon.1350

Lewis N, Gray SW, Freres D, Hornik R (2009): Examining cross-source engagement with cancer-related information and its impact on doctor-patient relations. Health Commun.  24: 723-734.



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