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The impact of health psychology on the humanisation of medicine

29 May 2024

Health psychology is a field of psychology that focuses on the study and understanding of the impact of psychological factors on the health and health behaviour of individuals and societies. It is an integral part of today's healthcare system, and its role is becoming increasingly important due to the changing needs of patients and the evolving healthcare model that emphasises a holistic approach to the patient.

Health psychology examines various aspects of health, including:

Psychological risk and protective factors: Health psychologists look at how factors such as stress, depression, anxiety, social support or health behaviours affect disease risk and how changes can be made in these areas to protect health.

Adaptation to chronic diseases: People with chronic diseases often need psychological support to manage their illness, comply with medication and maintain a good quality of life.

Emotional support: Health psychologists help patients cope with the emotional challenges of their illness, such as anxiety, depression and difficulties in accepting a diagnosis.

Communication between patient and medical staff: Health psychology also focuses on improving communication between the patient and the doctor, nurse or other medical staff, which can affect the quality of care and patient understanding.

Why is health psychology central to today's healthcare system?

Health holism is increasingly recognised in today's approach to health and healthcare. The value of this approach is to consider not only the physical, but also the mental, emotional and social aspects of a patient's care. Health psychology plays a key role in understanding this complexity of health and illness.

The modern world is full of stressors that can negatively affect the health of individuals. Stress, whether daily or resulting from illness or life situations, can have serious consequences for health. Health psychology offers tools and strategies to help individuals cope with stress. Stress management is becoming a key component of preventive health care, allowing individuals to maintain mental and physical balance.

The quality of healthcare is not only limited to the medical competence of the medical staff. A good relationship between patient and medical staff and an understanding of the patient's emotional needs are of paramount importance. Health psychologists play an important role in creating more empathetic and effective contacts between patients and medical staff. This approach not only improves the quality of care, but also helps patients to better cope with illness and the stress of treatment.

The study of health behaviour is another area where health psychology contributes to the health of society. Health psychologists study why people engage in certain health behaviours or fall into unhealthy habits, such as smoking or an unhealthy diet. With this knowledge, more effective education and prevention programmes can be designed to promote healthy habits and reduce the risk of disease.

People with chronic diseases, such as diabetes or hypertension, need ongoing care and self-discipline to manage their condition. Health psychology helps patients to stay motivated to adhere to medical recommendations and adapt to their long-term health needs. This approach not only helps patients to better control their diseases, but also improves their quality of life.

Health psychology and the humanisation of medicine

Health psychology is an integral part of the humanisation of medicine. It is a key part of the transformation of healthcare, which aims to provide patients with care that takes into account their individual needs, emotions and values. Let's explore how health psychology fits into the context of the humanisation of medicine and why it is essential.

In the humanisation of medicine, there is a huge emphasis on treating the patient as an individual, not just as a medical case. This approach assumes that each patient is unique and has their own needs, expectations and experiences. Health psychology is a tool that helps doctors and medical staff to better understand the patient, their emotional state, fears and concerns.

Health psychology provides tools to establish deeper relationships with patients. Conversations with a health psychologist can help patients express their emotions, concerns and needs, which is crucial for effective care. Doctors and medical staff who take into account the emotional and psychosocial aspects of the patient can adapt treatment plans and approach the patient in a more empathetic way.

Health psychology also helps to identify potential barriers to accessing healthcare. Patients may have a variety of concerns, such as fear of medical procedures, lack of trust in medical staff or difficulty understanding medical advice. Health psychologists work to eliminate these barriers and support patients in overcoming their difficulties.

A collaborative approach between patient and medical staff is also important in the humanisation of medicine. Health psychology encourages open dialogue and shared decision-making about healthcare. Patients who feel involved in the treatment process and take an active role in managing their health often achieve better health outcomes.

Ultimately, health psychology fits into the context of the humanisation of medicine, improving the quality of care, eliminating emotional and psychosocial barriers and enabling patients to actively participate in their treatment. This approach not only helps patients to better understand their health needs, but also creates a more compassionate and effective healthcare system.