By Maria DiDanieli
Quality of life is a topic that has been much reviewed, researched and written about – this is especially so in the health-care sector.
By Maria DiDanieli
Quality of life is a topic that has been much reviewed, researched and written about – this is especially so in the health-care sector. In 1999, Rubin and Peyrot wrote, “Researchers . . . point out that since expectations regarding health and the ability to cope with limitations and disability can greatly affect a person’s perception of health and satisfaction with life, two people with the same objective health status may have a very different quality of life.” The literature is now orienting us to the suggestion that quality of life is, in fact, a multi-layered consideration, encompassing belief systems – personal, cultural and otherwise – regarding health and healing; value systems; finances; functionality and goals for one’s life; as well as the overall perception regarding the status of one’s physical health.
This topic is closely tied in with, and causes us to examine carefully, patient autonomy and the concept of ongoing informed consent during treatment. In fact, this is one of the pillars of practice ethics, in all fields of health care, but one that is often not accorded its true significance when approaching patients who have problems that we see as potentially amenable to new or established treatment protocols. Much as you are a healer, and feel you have tools at your disposal that might help someone out, you need uncoerced, expressed and ongoing consent to carry out those practices on any patient who crosses your threshold. Nor can you withhold from that person alternative strategies.
As massage therapists, you are acutely aware of the need to obtain, and reassess, informed consent throughout treatment protocols; to observe your patients’ autonomy in their treatment choices; to respond to your patients’ questions and concerns in a non-biased, non-judgmental and informative manner; to discern your patients’ therapeutic goals and balance these with judicious use of your skills to help them aim for their desired quality of life; and to support them through whatever ensues as a result of their health-care choices.
Canadian massage therapists are reputed to receive a high-quality and intense education that produces knowledgeable, technically skilled, versatile and increasingly research literate practitioners who are also well versed in the need to develop dialogue to facilitate a system where patients truly benefit from health teams. Given this built-in knowledge regarding important issues focused on person-centred care, the profession can be instrumental in guiding dialogue about these issues, not only in its content but in its tenor. In our current health-care environments, where prominent issues deepen already existing faultlines between disciplines, massage therapists can be leaders in health-related discussions with patients, the public, governments, and other health-care providers.
This is my last issue as editor of Massage Therapy Canada – I consider it an honour and a true learning experience to have had the opportunity to work with members your profession and to learn about what you do and how you constantly strive to be more accessible to the Canadian public. I have admired your dedication to person-centred care and I am confident that you can play an important role within our health-care systems – in order to ultimately offer a quality of life that all Canadians can call “better” – in the years to come.
Bien à vous,