Can Therapeutic Patient Education be Therapeutic

The first effect of therapeutic education (fig. 3) is an improvement in patients' quality of life. Healthcare professionals too often tend to forget this; their overriding aim is to improve therapeutic compliance and reduce complications. With therapeutic education, an 80% reduction in amputations linked to diabetes has been observed [22].

Increasing patients' knowledge is not the only function of therapeutic education; in fact, its main aim is to make them aware of their problem (whether this involves diagnosis or risk factors) so that they take these notions on board and act more closely on the doctor's recommendations. That is when the doctor's teaching becomes 'therapeutic'; not only does he/she increase patients' knowledge and improve his/her quality of life, but he/she guides them through the long-term treatment of their problem. Thus, the patients become co-therapists.

Therapeutic education not only aims to increase patients' skills and knowledge, but also to modify their behavior in the long term. Furthermore, its pedagogical approaches are complemented by psychosocial models and by cognitive-behavioral type psychological approaches [12]. For more than 10 years

now, these psycho-pedagogical approaches have contributed to a clear improvement in the effectiveness of therapeutic education [23].

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