Beside the usual form of medical services doctors render such as diagnosis, consultation and drug prescription, many medical practitioners get involved in one-on-one rapport with patients. It is fascinating to note how this doctor-patient relationship often referred to as “bedside manner” could influence patients’ health. Research has shown that patients often perform and even do better when the proper relationship is established on such grounds.
This fabulous activity which involves proactive relationship between patients and doctors, confirms an awesome state of care and trust as well as a meaningful level of concern when this sort of mutual interaction is established. Though, fondly called “bedside manner” the practice can be carried out anywhere such as in an office, a car, a veranda, a ward etc. and not necessarily beside or around a bed. It is a doctor-patient relationship that involves the way patients are treated and cared for by not just doctors alone but medical practitioners in general.
Bedside manner has proven to become an inevitable tool, employed by medical practitioners to provide sound medical assistance or related services to patients. Modern medical ethos, code and principles alike, derive their base from this practice.
Familiarity and a standard level of amity between patients and physicians, is so often the consequence of bedside manner. This kind of one-on-one (doctor-to-patient) relationship, which in most cases tend to be less formal in nature, creates an amicable atmosphere of intimacy between both parties involved. This practice has more to do with psychology than medicine. Cutting out the regular, existing form of medical therapy (use of drugs) and creating new intimate platform for person to person interaction, it presents a new overhaul of psychological therapy.
Studies on this matter have proven that a deficient bedside manner can cause more havoc on patients than ever expected. In most cases, it is better not to initiate the practice at all if it is going to be less affable because a lasting effect of depression, dejection, disappointment and wretchedness may be all that would be left of the patient by the end of the rendezvous.
Nonetheless, it comes with a sigh of relieve to note that an efficient bedside manner can maximally promote recovery and positively influence patients health. In a bid to buttress her research on this study, Dr. Helen Riess, a Relational Science and Empathy Director at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital, recently carried out some clinical trials around the world. The results obtained presented astonishing results to which rapid improvements were observed on certain cases of ailments due to doctor-patient relationship. According to the study, those that benefited immensely from the rapport were mainly obese, diabetic, arthritis and patients with high blood pressure. The results evidently proved that the drastic change of course to normalcy as rightly observed respectively in each case, came as a result of mutual empathy established between doctor and patient.
How eye-opening to realize that bedside manner could go a long way to make or mar patients’ health. In conclusion, this research has shown that beside manner would either create a negative or positive influence on patients’ health.
Commentary by Obed Uche