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Demonstrate Hoe Health Psychology Can Aid Nurses In Caring For Patients

1106 words - 5 pages

This essay will demonstrate how health psychology can aid nurses in caring for patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It will look at how stigma can impact on the behaviour of patients with HIV as well as explain causes for non adherence. Health psychology studies thoughts, emotions and behaviours related to health and illness. It uses a biopsychosocial approach which considers all aspects of a person's life. Health psychology allows nurses to have a better understanding of how patients perceive health, what influences health risk behaviours and what prompts people to adopt healthy behaviours (Ogden, 2012a). The health belief model (HBM), which was developed in 1966 by Rosenstock, is used as a way of explaining why people choose to use health protection behaviours (Pitts and Phillips, 1998). For the purpose of this essay the HBM will be applied to HIV to demonstrate how it can explain why some people choose not to use condoms.
HIV has many psychological aspects which can impact on the way a patient behaves. Stigma and non-adherence are just two aspects associated with the disease. Many individuals have negative attitudes towards people with HIV and this can result in HIV patients suffering from discrimination. Bad quality healthcare and patients being fearful of seeking treatment are just two of the outcomes of stigma (Mandal, 2013). It has been known for healthcare professionals to withhold treatment, breach confidentiality and isolate HIV patients when not necessary (Engenderhealth, 2004a). Homosexual men have always been at the forefront of HIV stigma and in 1985 Dougal et al conducted a study about homophobia on 128 nurses and physicians. The results showed that ten per cent felt that homosexual men were responsible for the spread of HIV and classed them as being irresponsible and dangerous (Senior and Viveash, 1998). Nurses need to address any negative feelings or attitudes they have towards HIV patients. If these are not addressed it can lead to HIV patients receiving a lower standard of healthcare (Engenderhealth, 2004b).
Once a patient has been diagnosed with HIV they are prescribed medication which helps fight the symptoms of the disease. Medication is vital in keeping the immune system as healthy as possible however many patients do not adhere to their medication. Chesney, Morin and Sherr (2000) claim that side effects of medication, forgetfulness and access to a pharmacy are all reasons for non-adherence. Also some patients will stop taking prescribed medication because their symptoms have gone, then restart when the symptoms return. Jaquet et al (2010) conducted a study in West Africa on 2920 HIV patients to see how many were adherent. The results showed that 91.8% were taking over 95% of their medication however 16.3% admitted that they had occasionally forgot to take their medications, 12.2% didn't take their medication when they were away from home and 7.0% said the pharmacy had been out of stock. Nurses need to monitor...

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