By Marco Bobbio
Since December 2020, the Slow Medicine association has been collecting stories from doctors, nurses, social and health professionals, patients, and relatives who have experienced the effectiveness of a measured, respectful, and equitable approach to treat a disease. Writing a personal experience helps care professionals to deeply understand the point of view of the patient, to try to put themselves in his/her shoes and then develop empathy; reading and writing stories helps patients and caregivers to tolerate the ambiguity of clinical practice, to understand that invasive and technological medicine is not the only solution in many instances.
Since then, sixty stories have been published on the Slow Medicine website, https://www.slowmedicine.it/storie-slow/.
40 stories from physicians, 10 from nurses, 3 from physical therapists, 2 from patients, 1 from family member, and 4 stories from psychologists/psychotherapists.
The stories were subdivided and grouped by theme, with the aim of highlighting recurring contents and understanding which aspects of care were most emphasized:
- relationship time is care time: listening, time to relate, trust, expression of care, gestures, as a key for a positive outcome (12 stories);
- the places of a “slow” care: home care as an expression of respect for the will of the person, as a guarantee of quality of life (7 stories);
- doing more does not mean doing better: deprescription, treatment withhold, refusal of an invasive treatment, respect for the person’s will not to undergo interventions that are not proportionate with their conception of health (18 stories);
- slow care at the end of life: respect for the person’s wishes, gestures of care at the end of life, avoiding therapeutic persistence, truthful communication, maintenance of quality of life (12 stories);
- standardization versus personalization of care: promoting of decision-making and self-care, encouraging informed choices, humanization of hospitals and treatments (11 stories).
Two articles were published in indexed journals dealing with the lessons derived from the experience. The first one “Relationship time is care time“, published in “L’infermiere”, journal of FNOPI, the Italian Association of Nurses, in January 2022; the second “Quando la medicina è rispettosa“, published in Recenti Progressi in Medicina in February 2022.
Two abstracts have also been accepted to be presented at the Choosing Wisely Canada National Meeting to be held in collaboration with the Canadian Medical Association on May 25 and 26 2022 on the topic of time is care and of respectfulness.
We continue to collect and publish stories, and we are planning to write a book with the aim to discuss how a sober, respectful, and equitable medicine can provide a contribution for a positive and effective treatment. Finally, we are going to propose webinars to discuss the issues represented by the stories. By the end of the year of an E-book collecting the first 100 stories is planned to be published.