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Patient expectations in osteopathic care

Patient expectations encompass the anticipations, hopes, and desires patients have regarding their healthcare interactions and outcomes. Osteopathy, a holistic and patient-centred healthcare approach, relies heavily on a therapeutic alliance that incorporates patient expectations.

Factors Shaping Patient Expectations: Patient expectations are influenced by a myriad of factors, including personal experiences, cultural background, social support, and information accessibility. Studies suggest that previous healthcare encounters, family and peer influences, and online information sources significantly impact the development of patient expectations. Understanding these factors is crucial for osteopathic practitioners to tailor their communication and approach effectively.

Impact of Patient Expectations on Treatment Outcomes: Mounting evidence underscores the impact of patient expectations on treatment outcomes across various healthcare modalities, including osteopathy. Placebo and nocebo effects, driven by patient expectations, can significantly influence pain perception, symptom improvement, and overall treatment satisfaction. Positive expectations have been correlated with better treatment adherence, reduced pain intensity, and enhanced recovery rates in osteopathic care.

Communicating and Managing Expectations: Clear and open communication between osteopathic practitioners and patients is paramount in managing expectations. Research supports the idea that patients who feel actively engaged in their treatment decisions and are informed about the potential outcomes are more likely to have realistic and positive expectations. Osteopathic practitioners can utilise shared decision-making models to align patient expectations with treatment goals and potential outcomes.

Ethical Considerations: While harnessing patient expectations can lead to positive outcomes, ethical considerations are crucial. Osteopathic practitioners must ensure that they do not oversell potential benefits or create unrealistic expectations. Balancing hope and honesty in communication is essential to maintaining trust and delivering ethical care.

Patient expectations hold significant influence over the outcomes of osteopathic care. As a patient-centered approach, osteopathy necessitates effective management and alignment of these expectations to ensure ethical, holistic, and successful healthcare encounters. By understanding the factors shaping patient expectations, fostering open communication, and emphasising shared decision-making, osteopathic practitioners can optimise treatment outcomes and contribute to improved patient satisfaction and overall well-being.


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