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Chiropractic Research Review

Respect, Involvement Both Key to Patients Following a Doctor's Advice

Dozens of published studies have established a link between a patient's involvement in care (and a doctor's behavior that facilitates patient involvement) and positive outcomes. Having a patient be involved in his or her care does not, however, necessarily translate to increased feelings of respect by the patient.

As a result, both respect and involvement must be considered as separate factors that contribute to, or detract from, the successful resolution of a health-related complaint or condition.

In this survey, researchers asked 5,514 patients who had a medical encounter within the past two years a series of questions related to their involvement in making decisions about their care with their doctor, and the level of dignity and respect with which they were treated. Patients were also asked about the quality of health care the received, and to note any instances in which they did not follow a doctor's advice, get a recommended test, or see a referred doctor.

Results: Seventy-six percent of the respondents reported "being treated with a great deal of respect and dignity"; 77 percent reported "being involved in decisions to the extent that they wished"; and 62 percent reported both being treated with dignity and being involved in decisions. Respondents treated with dignity "were more likely to report higher levels of satisfaction, adherence to therapy, and receipt of optimal preventive services" than those were not treated as well. Similarly, being involved in decisions related to care "was associated with patient satisfaction and adherence."

"In conclusion," the authors wrote, "being involved in decisions and being treated with dignity are independently important from patient's perspectives. Complete respect is not limited to respect for autonomy; it also entails regarding the patient as inherent value. Health professionals ought to involve patients in decisions; however, doing so does not replace treating each patient with respect and dignity."

Beach MC, Sugarman J, Johnson RL, et al. Do patients treated with dignity report higher satisfaction, adherence, and receipt of preventive care? Annals of Family Medicine, July/August 2005;3(4):331-338.

Chiropractic Research Review

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