Role and importance of communication in physician-patient-family relationship

Journal Title: Medycyna Ogólna i Nauki o Zdrowiu - Year 2012, Vol 18, Issue 3


Objective: The objective of the study was the presentation of the role and importance of communication in a physician-patient-family relationship. The report presents the aspects, importance and benefits resulting from the proper course of communication, and indicates mistakes and the resulting losses, both for health of a patient and the future contacts between family members and the physician.Material and methods: The research method applied was a critical analysis of the contents and synthesis of own practical experiences. The analysis covered publications indexed in databases of medical, psychological and social literature according to the following key words: physician, patient, family, interpersonal communication. Own experiences concern the training of medical professionals in the area of interpersonal communication, as well as own studies which have been conducted since 2007 concerning interpersonal competences of medical staff.Conclusions: In order to understand the specificity of the relationship within the triangle physician-patient-family, apart from the biomedical aspect of disease, its psychological dimension should be noted, concerning, among other things, psychical discomfort, poor general well-being, sense of dignity (or more precisely, the lack of), and sense of safety. The social and cultural dimensions, including the social role of a ‘patient’, disease as a ground for conflict in a family, disease as a deviation, etc., are equally important. All these dimensions mutually overlap and mutually condition each other. From the moment an individual assumes the role of ‘a patient’, his/her environment (family) exerts a great effect, imposing pressure on a patient to behave in accordance with this role. Sometimes, a patient and his/her environment interpret this state as not requiring professional assistance, and focus on self-treatment. However, usually, the subsequent step is the decision to assume the role of a ‘patient’, and report to a physician. Whether the patient will want to take a role of a ‘patient’ depends, to a great extent, on previous experiences concerning contacts with ‘health services’. These experiences concern not only an efficient therapy, but primarily the satisfaction of expectations pertaining to communication, information, respect, and sense of safety. Thus, what does a family as a whole and its individual members expect from a family physician? Apart from the biomedical dimension, within which patients and their families expect knowledge and experience, they also expect understanding, support, paying attention to emotions and not judgment. Therefore, a physician must possess the skills of communication and construction of a relationship with a patient, and must know the principles of family functioning, in order to – based on empathy, i.e. understanding of the emotional sphere – efficiently provide care in the biomedical dimension.Key words: physician, patient, family, interpersonal communication

Authors and Affiliations

Anna Włoszczak-Szubzda, Mirosław Jarosz


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  • EP ID EP68887
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How To Cite

Anna Włoszczak-Szubzda, Mirosław Jarosz (2012). Role and importance of communication in physician-patient-family relationship. Medycyna Ogólna i Nauki o Zdrowiu, 18(3), 206-211.