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Healthcare professionals in the Netherlands take the patient challenge

150 doctors, nurses and other staff at the University Medical Centre Utrecht and the Wilhelmina Children’s’ Hospital, Netherlands, decided to challenge themselves to live as people with a chronic condition for two weeks. They decided to live as patients to find out why healthcare professionals often get criticised for not being able to put themselves in their patients’ shoes.

They had to follow all the rules they would normally impose on their patients. Some things were easier than other. Most healthcare professionals involved had no great problem with following excersie regimes, but they struggled to keep to diet restrictions (in case of allergies) or realised how easy it was to lose your epipen for instance.

When having to do things several times a day, such as taking medication they found it hard to fit it into their daily schedules, as they had other things to do – just like patients do. Perhaps the most annoying thing was being told what to do, when to take the medication, what not to eat and so on. It made a lot of the healthcare professionals think, that like them, their patients also don’t like being told what to do all the time and may not want to follow the rules. They also started to understand that some of their patients may simply be fed up with taking their long-term medication.

It was an eye opener for a lot of the healthcare professionals in the challenge and paediatric pulmonologist Kors van der Ent said that the treatment of people with chronic conditions needs to be more realistic and creative, and that it is necessary to negotiate with the patient and include them in the decisions about their treatment.

Read the full article (in Dutch).