Study Finds Physical Health Directly Influenced by Patient Quality of Life
An article published in The Wall Street Journal revealed the findings of a Population Health Management study, which indicates that a patient’s quality of life directly influences his or her physical health.
According to the article, hospitals are associating higher patient-reported well-being with fewer hospitalizations, ER visits, and medication use. The association has hospitals and practices interested in developing counseling programs led by nurses of patients with asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis in an effort to improve physical health via improved quality of life. Counselors would ask question such as: Is your condition inhibiting your life? Is it making you less happy? Does it make it hard to cope day to day? These questions would be followed by counselor advice on how to manage a medical condition’s effects on a patient’s life.
The program, Women Breathe Free, aims to improve the quality of life for African-American women with asthma and provides nurse counselors, who ask questions about well-being and quality of life. One patient, 63-year-old Quentonia Ford, has not been hospitalized since she began the Breathe Free counseling; she reported that the program has helped her to overcome depression, openly discuss needs with her family, and set achievable health goals. Ford believes the personal approach of the counseling has ultimately improved her overall health.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has been analyzing data from programs like Women Breathe Free to evaluate other groups and communities’ perspectives on health and the associated improvements to quality of life. Doing so allows the Foundation to identify vulnerable areas and create interventions to help improve overall health. The goal, according to the article, is to help medical providers see the big picture and make healthier and happier patients.
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