Management phase of the consultation

The management phase of the consultation may immediately follow the information-gathering interview, or it may take place on review, after diagnostic tests or referral. It should be remembered that there are at least two people concerned in management: the doctor and the patient. Poor patient compliance with any proposed therapy can be a result of a poorly conducted management phase. It is necessary not only for the doctor to make statements concerning therapy and the reasons for the chosen therapy, but also for the information to be conveyed in a language appropriate to each patient's understanding.

Management includes immediate care, prevention and long-term care. Doctors generally tend to be authoritarian in their management proposals. Whole-person management, however, implies that the patient's views are listened to, explanations are offered where necessary by the doctor, and an educative approach is adopted to encourage the patient to actively participate in management and preventive behaviour, where possible.

No longer can the patient be expected to act as the passive receiver of advice or to submit without question to procedures as in the past. There is evidence that the patient's compliance with management plans is improved if the patient has been involved in the decision making. The objectives of the management phase of the consultation are summarised in Table 3.2 .

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