I-Care Study: Improving Doctor-Patient Relationship

The ‘Integrating Depression Care in Acute Coronary Syndromes Patients in Low Resource Hospitals in China’ (I-Care Study) study has already seen extra benefits in doctor-patient relationships, despite the study being in the first stage of its implementation.

Mingqing Li, a nurse from Wafangdian Hospital in Liaoning Province, recently posted a picture of a water colour painting of a peony that she received from a patient on the I-Care Study’s WeChat group with the caption, “A little bit excited to receive this gift from a patient.”

Nurse Li has been a cardiac nurse for more than 15 years and volunteered to join the I-Care Study when it first launched in 2014. The study is designed to provide integrated care for patients in rural areas of China who suffer from both acute coronary syndrome (ACS), one of the most life-threatening cardiovascular diseases, and depression.

As part of the I-Care study, nurse Li is responsible for following up consultations with patients after they leave hospital, as well as group talk organisation.

The unexpected gift came from Mr. Zhang, a 72 year old patient who had heart stent surgery in Wafangdian Hospital. Mr. Zhang said that he gave the painting to nurse Li because he was grateful for the care she showed to him. 

“After I left the hospital, she would still call me asking about the condition of my health, and telling me to go to have regular physical examinations including blood pressure measuring and regular electrocardiogram. It was so nice and I really appreciated it.”

Nurse Li said she received the gift from Mr. Zhang after his third follow up visit.

“After the examination, the patient was in a great mood and very optimistic. He brought a picture painted by himself to us and we were very surprised and happy about it.

“In addition to giving Mr. Zhang regular examinations and asking questions about his health status, we also helped provide him with useful knowledge about his medications, every time he came to the hospital. We also try our best to make him feel better, physically and psychologically.”

“We have a lot of patients, but not everyone has such a good state of mind. Doctors and nurses both need to make more effort to have more communication with our patients, to care more.

“Passing on health lifestyle messages and group talk has so far proved to be a more effective way of improving patients’ mental health. Patients are willing to participate to increase their knowledge, communicate their thoughts with fellow patients and their health care providers. Patients are cooperative if they find it beneficial. Some patients even look forward to our phone calls. It is good to talk.”

Nurse Li also mentioned: “There is a patient who is extremely afraid of death. We encouraged him to do some online shopping for books and to communicate with other patients. He wouldn’t be afraid if he acquired a better understanding of the disease.”

Ms. Li’s words are simple, but express her feeling of her responsibility of being a healthcare worker, and also express a deep ambition towards making real improvements to patients’ health. Caring, communication and mutual understanding are the three points the I-Care Study emphasized in is implementation, which harmonized various aspects, and leads us to a better doctor-patient relationship as we look forward to the study result.