Patients with chronic diseases need strong relationships with providers

younger hand holding an older one

Chronic diseases, especially those as severe as multiple sclerosis, can greatly affect the mental status of patients and their overall quality of life. It is this idea of “quality of life” that Brian Holland, assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Nursing, seeks to understand and improve through his nursing research at Texas A&M University.

Medical treatment regimens often focus on physical symptom management and overlook other factors. Holland’s recent doctoral dissertation examined the relationships between health care providers and patients.

The most important finding in Holland’s study was the link between perceived health care provider engagement and patient quality of life. Holland found that if a health care provider-patient relationship was based on mutual respect and collaborative decision-making, it was more likely to ensure effective health outcomes and an improved quality of life.

“What we see is that the more empowered patients feel, the more they will adhere to treatment regimens and ultimately experience an improved quality of life,” Holland said. “This is extremely important for patients of chronic diseases because the patient is so instrumental in their decision-making and long-term treatment management.”

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