Holistic Continuity of Care
The Missing Piece in Women’s Journey to Relief in Vulvar Pain and Better Well-being
Vulvodynia is chronic vulvar pain of more than three months duration with no clear identifiable cause. The condition is often misdiagnosed. Unexplained pain in an area intrinsically related to sex and sexuality has negative social and emotional consequences that put women under tremendous psychological distress.
The care process for women with vulvodynia is fragile. Breakpoints that hinder continuity of care are based on healthcare providers (HCPs) lack of awareness about the condition, and lack of good communication between them and women. Furthermore, the care provided nowadays does not consider the social and emotional aspects of the condition. Hence, the research aims to promote holistic continuity of care, for relief in vulvar pain and better well-being of women with vulvodynia.
The intervention suggests a new design of care process for women with vulvodynia in community clinics. The new design integrates case management in the process and provides details for optimal medical encounters.
The case managers accompany women through a long-term multidisciplinary care. They are responsible for building a relationship of trust with the women, help them reach the right HCPs and navigate complex healthcare systems. In addition, they educate HCPs to raise their awareness of chronic vulvar pain conditions and improve their communication with patients. The case managers also support HCP’s when there is a need for a revision of care plans. Finally, they promote efficient use of healthcare resources, and cut costs for health maintenance organizations.
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