Improving the well-being in dialogue with the patients

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Yvonne Wengström, Professor of Nursing at the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, researches how care can support patients’ symptom burden and well-being during treatment for cancer; this she does in dialogue with the patients themselves.

Cancer treatments often have severe side effects, and Yvonne Wengström’s research investigates how care can improve the well-being of such patients. One consistent theme in her work is patient involvement.

“It’s very much about help for self-care,” she explains. “We ask the patients what they feel to be the most serious problems and then together we develop tools to help them.”

Professor Wengström’s main focus has been breast cancer, and she is currently studying how different exercise programmes affect this patient group’s quality of life.

“We know from previous studies that exercise relieves the discomfort of treatment and reduces the risk of relapse,” she says. “But what kinds of exercise are best? That’s what we’re trying to find out.”

Another track that Professor Wengström is following is e-health use in the clinical setting. The research group is conducting randomised studies of patients with different cancer diagnoses and elderly people receiving home care to examine how an app for tablets and smartphones can be used for real time communication between the patient and the care provider. The tool has been developed in dialogue with users.

“In one of the studies, in this case of prostate patients, we’ve obtained a preliminary result – that the group using our tool experiences less symptoms,” she says. “The study also shows that they are very happy with the tool and feel well-taken care of.”

Professor Wengström is also looking into the issue of how hospitals change their work processes when e-health apps are implemented.

Text: Anders nilsson, first published in "From Cell to Society" 2015. Translation: Neil Betteridge. 

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