Glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world, affects over half a million people in the UK. 10% of all the patients who go blind in the UK, do so due to Glaucoma. Given the enormous impact of the condition on the physical health and the Quality of Life of the patient, the mental impact of the condition is usually underestimated and overlooked. Research studies focused on this have proven that patients with Glaucoma are statistically more prone to experience poorer Quality of Life and are more prone to depression with a 10% -12% prevalence of depressive symptomatology in subjects with Glaucoma.
Within its constitution, WHO defines health as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. As clinicians, we aim to not only treat the condition but the patient. A few of the major hurdles during a clinical consultation with Glaucoma patients which may prevent us from delivering this care include the time constriction for each consultation, prioritization of the explanation and discussion of the best individual treatment option, and the initial shock of the diagnosis which can make the patient unresponsive to any attempts for a holistic consultation.
To address this problem, the Glaucoma team at Milton Keynes University Hospital have been conducting Patient Support Group sessions to support and educate patients diagnosed with Glaucoma. These meetings were unfunded, and the team set it up and performed it in their own time. The team audited the understanding and outlook of the patients before and after the session and the analyzed data showed a significant improvement in the parameters assessed. We believe such meetings should be routinely held in all Glaucoma units given the patient benefits, improved compliance and patient confidence, and contribution to reduced disease progression.
In this presentation, we would like to present our approach and data to encourage other clinicians/Trusts to set up such meetings formally. We would like to discuss the benefits, how to set it up and tips for successfully conducting the meetings. We believe that this holistic approach to treating glaucoma will benefit both patients and the clinical staff, and we hope we can encourage hospitals to adopt these meetings in the future.
Audience Take Away Notes:
- The presentation will help the audience deliver a complete holistic treatment of Glaucoma and improve patient confidence and compliance with the treatment.
- The presentation will equip the audience with the knowledge and tips to successfully conduct such meetings.
- Encourage the doctors/hospital representatives in the audience to formally arrange such meetings in Glaucoma units.