Communication is essential in clinical practice, and when established in an efficient and effective manner, it facilitates the establishment of a relationship of trust between health professionals and users, thus creating a true therapeutic alliance. These are the conclusions of a study in the Journal of Medicine and Life co-sponsored by the Association for the Protection of Diabetics in Portugal (APDP), with the goal of helping diabetics and the health professionals who accompany them communicate more effectively.
“Communication is central to the motivation process. It is a tool for connecting people, but for this reason also it has the potential to bring people closer or further apart. People with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, are accustomed to receiving information about treatment adherence and healthy behaviors with some privacy. Communication is really effective, it’s essential to be objective, clear, tangible and assertive,” explains Ana Lucia Covenhas, Clinical and Health Psychologist at the APDP.
The expert also considers that “taking into account that each person acts by self-determination and is responsible for his (own) behavior, if health instructions are questionable, contradictory, inconsistent, and above all, if they do not take into account the peculiarities of what it’s like to live with a disease like Diabetes, communication does not reach people and worse, it can act as a noise and thus have the opposite effect of its intended meaning, demotivation!Thus, it is necessary to consider health professionals who are accustomed to working with this population in defining and implementing strategies that will be adopted in intervention plans to stimulate adherence to therapies and healthy behaviors in general.”
Ana Lucia Covenhas also states that in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, effective communication has taken on even greater importance. The Clinical Psychologist at the APDP states that during this period “people with diabetes should be the target of increased attention regarding the communication technologies used, bearing in mind that since the beginning of the epidemic, they have been considered a vulnerable group in the event of a pandemic infection.” New SARS-COV-2. This peculiarity doubles people’s attention to what they are told and what is being asked of them.”
Given this particular reality, the APDP has strengthened its communication channels and strategies since the first inventory. José Manuel Boavida, president of the association, confirms that “In March 2020, we set up a telephone helpline so that people with diabetes and their caregivers can clarify their doubts and concerns without having to leave the house, and since then we have promoted dozens of virtual conversations to illustrate the different dimensions involved Diabetes “.
“We have also used our social networks and promoted dissemination in the media because we know that a more informed population is also a healthier population. Pandemic management itself is a real case study of health communication and it has shown how less effective communication can have disastrous effects from the point of view of public health,” concludes the APDP chief.