People Help Themselves: An Interdisciplinary Approach

In order to help people help themselves, an interdisciplinary approach is necessary. This means that more than just one physical or mental health doctor must be involved in the treatment of a person. Instead, it becomes very important for there to be an interdisciplinary approach to helping someone, whether they are coming into the hospital for some type of surgery or other problem or whether they are being rehabilitated because they have suffered an amputation or some type of serious injury or event.

In this study, there are several cases that are looked at in the context of literature regarding the interdisciplinary approach and psychological issues. In order to do this, the Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Humanitarian City Hospital is the rehabilitation facility that will be studied. However, the researcher will also draw on personal experience and a review of the literature in order to better showcase the fact that there is much to be learned from the interdisciplinary approach to rehabilitation because the mental and emotional issues that these people face have as much if not more impact on their lives than the physical issues.

Chapter One: Introduction

Background

Statement of the Problem

Purpose of the Study

Importance of the Study

Scope of the Study

Humanitarian City Hospital

Overview of the Study

Chapter Two: Literature Review

Main Area of Study

Critique of the Literature

Theories and Methods

Chapter Three: Method and Procedure

Research Design and Approach

Population and Sample

Collection and Tabulation of Data

Data Analysis Procedure

Limitations of the Study

Reliability and Validity of the Data

Case Studies

Chapter Four: Personal Experiences

Chapter Five: Conclusions

Chapter Six: Recommendations

References

Chapter One: Introduction

Background

The study of the emotional and behavioral response to chronic illness is important to the treatment, remission, and/or acceptance of the illness. Once an individual is diagnosed with a chronic disease or illness every aspect of their life changes. Professionals working with the chronically ill need to gain an understanding of the dynamics of how their patient's lives are impacted by the disease and how the patient is coping with the emotional and behavioral changes caused by the disease. The same is true with people who have had some kind of a serious injury like an amputation or other physical disability. There are many places where the illness or injury can be treated physically, but when it comes to an interdisciplinary approach and teaching people how they can continue to help themselves, this is not seen as often.

In many instances the medical profession focuses mainly of the physical manifestations of chronic illness or injury, and aggressive treatment plans without consideration of the cumulative effects the treatments, medication, physical pain, or surgical procedures have on the individual's psychological, emotional, and behavioral well-being. The behavioral, emotional, and physical issues that are related to the illness or injury can have a serious effect on how well the patient is able to cope, the quality of life that the patient enjoys, and how the illness affects both the outside social relationships and the family.

Should there be a collaborative effort between medical professionals and the mental health provider to effectively treat patients with chronic illness or injury? When patients have the opportunity to participate in their treatment utilizing medical technology, psychological treatment, and behavior modification techniques they increase their propensity toward maintaining a positive outlook concerning their illness, recovery, and/or recuperation.

Many studies have recognized that developing collaborative treatment plans to include physicians, psychologists, social services, and behavioral specialists could effectively implement the biopsychosocial or interdisciplinary approach (Engel, 1977) to encompass the vast array of difficulties the chronic illness or injury manifests in the individual.

Chronic illness is the fourth largest medical health problem today and studies have shown that chronic illness can be more easily maintained and some of the effects of it decreased by the collaboration between psychology and medicine to correlate and manage a treatment plan to effectively reduce the behavioral origins of the chronic illness (Wickramasekera, Davies, & Davies, 1996). The same kinds of things have been seen with those who have chronic injuries or disabilities that they are struggling with. This has a great deal of significance for those who are dealing with this problem.

Statement of the Problem

The main issue that must be dealt with here is whether physicians and others in the medical field are doing enough to ensure that patients who must deal with chronic illness or injury get the best care possible for all of their needs. As has been mentioned, physicians often look only at the physical aspects of the disease and therefore they do not do enough to study and help the emotional and behavioral issues that may also come along with these types of problems.

When someone has an illness or injury that can be cured, the suffering from it and the problems that they face with it are usually relatively short-lived and overall these kinds of illnesses or injuries do not contribute to long-term pain and significant problems. However, where chronic illness or permanent injury is concerned, patients and their families must deal with the issue for a much greater period of time, and the emotional stress that it places on the family can become very uncomfortable and painful for them if there is no effective way of treating it or no outlet for the feelings that the patient and the family often has where the illness or injury is concerned.

Patients that have chronic illnesses or injuries are often angry and depressed about the problems that they must face (Wedding, 2001; Keefe, et al., 2002; Eitel, et al., 1995). Because of this, these patients need more support, and studies have shown that having a good support system can help these patients to have longer and better lives, and can also help them to attend their physician visits and take their medications correctly (DiMatteo, 2004). Because of this, the problem of a lack of emotional and behavioral support within the medical system is something that must be addressed in order to help more patients and their families to achieve longer lives and a higher quality of life.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to look at this issue from the perspective of the patient and to work toward finding an outcome that is beneficial to all who are involved through the use of the literature that will be reviewed in the following chapter and the cases that will also be looked at. If chronic illness was not so prevalent in this country the concern would not be so great, but since there are so many people who must deal with it there is reason to believe that the emotional and behavioral issues that come with chronic illness or injury must be addressed in order to help the patients that are struggling with this kind of problem, and in order to provide support for their families.

While the problems that the patient is facing are certainly very significant, the issues that the family faces should also be addressed, since the family members are often the caregivers of the chronically ill or injured person. These caregivers can experience burnout when the duties that they have in taking care of the chronically ill or injured person become overwhelming and they simply get tired of the requirements (Erdal & Zautra, 1995). This does not mean that they do not love that person, but only that the burden that they face is great. The emotional and behavioral state of these individuals should also be studied and dealt with, because it can ultimately affect the quality of life for the patient as well (Hatchett, et al., 1997).

Importance of the Study

All studies that look at issues that have not been dealt with before, and all studies that work to make problems less significant for a specific group of individuals, have importance for that group. For this study the problem has already been discussed by others, but the researcher hopes to shed some new light on the issue and make recommendations in a later chapter for what can be done to help these chronically ill and injured patients and their families with the problems that they face on a behavioral and emotional level. This does not mean that the physical issues that they face should be ignored, but only that the physical issues appear to receive much more attention and the other issues are often overlooked, which stops the physician and others from truly caring for the patient in the most complete way.

By showing how important the behavioral and emotional needs of these patients and their families really are, the researcher can help these individuals and those in the medical field to more clearly understand the issue and why an interdisciplinary approach is the best choice. This could potentially lead to the development of new ways of looking at the problem of chronic illness or injury and would…