What Homecare is All About: The Crucial Role of Conversation

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The following article is about the healing power of conversation in home
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Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq.

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What Homecare is All About: The Crucial Role of Conversation



Danielle Ofri makes an important point for home care providers in an article
that appeared in The New York Times on January 22, 2017. That is, simple
conversation between providers and patients can be as potent an analgesic as
many prescribed treatments.



Ms. Ofri points out that in 2014, researchers in Canada did a study about
the role of communication in the treatment of chronic back pain. The
participants in the study received either electrical stimulation treatments
or "sham" electrical treatments from physical therapists. Those who
received electrical stimulation treatments reported a greater improvement in
their levels of pain than patients who received "sham" treatments.



In addition, one half of study participants experienced only limited
conversation from therapists. Therapists asked the other half of the
participants open-ended questions and listened attentively to patients'
responses. They also expressed empathy about patients' treatments and
offered words of encouragement about getting better.



Patients who underwent "sham" treatments, but had therapists who
communicated more actively with them, reported a 55% decrease in their
levels of pain. Patients who did not actually receive electrical
stimulation treatments but had therapists who actively communicated with
them showed more improvement than patients who actually received treatments.
Patients who received treatments and had therapists who communicated with
them showed the greatest improvement. In short, communication alone was
more effective than treatment alone. As Ms. Ofri says, "A substantial
portion of 'healing' comes from the communication and connection with the
patient."



The study described above, along with others, show that the way in which
providers communicate with patients can have profound effects on the results
of treatment. It is surprising, therefore, to realize that conversation
between providers and patients may be one of the least valued aspects of
health care. There usually isn't reimbursement available from insurers for
talking with patients!



As the home health, hospice, HME and private duty industries continue to
work to improve the quality of care provided to patients, it is crucial for
practitioners to recognize the power of conversation. It's one of the most
effective treatment tools that providers have. And home care providers of
all types have what are, perhaps, unique opportunities to use the healing
power of conversation during their visits to patients' homes. Talking with
patients makes a difference.





C2017 Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq. All rights reserved.

No portion of this material may be reproduced in any form without the
advance written permission of the author.
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