Patients' values may affect treatment

The types of life values held by patients affect their medical treatment attendance for pelvic floor dysfunction, says new research.

According to scientists from the University of Swansea, UK, the condition is common, affecting over 25 per cent of all women in the UK. It involves incontinence and prolapse, and is initially treated by physiotherapy.

The researchers found that promoting key life values could be important in developing the medical support received by patients and increasing their attendance for treatment, as well as saving the NHS money by preventing unnecessary operations later. They discovered that the life values related to treatment attendance were women's health attitudes, beliefs related to work and achievement and those related to spirituality, loyalty and responsibility.

Commenting on the study, Professor Phil Reed, of the University of Swansea’s psychology department, said:

"The fact that holding strong health values is an important predictor of treatment attendance is no surprise - but the data shows that many ladies place this aspect of their life lower than many other areas - and we need to help empower them to value their own health. The finding regarding spirituality was a bit of a surprise, but it might reflect some patients' tendency to accept 'external authority', and so adhere to treatment plans."

The researchers said that one of the main implications of their findings is that supporting patients to develop the sorts of values that predict attendance, particularly valuing their own health, could enhance their attendance at pelvic floor muscle training sessions, and may help them recover their pelvic floor function without the need of operations.

Prof Reed added that physiotherapy treatment for this condition can be “so effective and safe” for patients. He explained that it is “really important” that those women who do attend have their needs fully recognised and supported. This will lead to enhanced attendance and outcomes for these patients.ADNFCR-2094-ID-801843135-ADNFCR