In Quebec, doctors now prescribe books to their patients

If you go to the doctor in Quebec, you may come away from your consultation with books to read. Since February, health professionals have been prescribing “literary remedies” to their patients to help them heal.

Since February 2024, an unusual experiment has been carried out in Quebec City, Canada. After a medical consultation, city doctors can prescribe a list of books for their patients to read to help them heal. According to The cross, these works are called “literary remedies”. These are around fifty books that doctors can prescribe to their patients and that are easily found in Quebec libraries.

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These books are prescribed by doctors as a complement to the medical care received by the patient. They encompass five fields: pediatrics, psychology, spiritual care as well as nursing and nutrition.

“We often know that consultations are very quick, time is limited to see as many people as possible during the day. Sometimes we come away a little disappointed, saying to ourselves: “I didn’t have all the answers to my questions.” But in this way, the specialist has access to a list of collections which are accessible in libraries near our hospital centers. And there, we can give references for additional information to patients”explained Patrice Lemay, director of university affairs teaching at the CHU de Québec-Université de Laval, to France Info.

Provide reliable information

The primary objective of this experiment is to prevent patients from finding information on the internet and coming across bad information, which could cause them to worry about their state of health. By prescribing dedicated books, doctors wish to better inform the population and reduce anxiety.

“We know today that the patient has a more active role in his episodes of care. So he goes to get a first diagnosis with his friend Google and he comes to get a second medical opinion by going to his professional. People have access to more information, but it’s not necessarily the best information. So what we did was groups by theme with material in literature of high quality, accessible, general public and easily recommendable”continued Patrice Lemay alongside France Info.

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Among the books to which patients have access, we find “Explain foods to me” to better understand nutritional problems, “Facing cancer with realistic thinking”, “Overcoming the enemies of sleep” as well as books on autism. According to Weekly Bookssome more literary works are also offered such as “Oscar and the Pink Lady”, a book which recounts the fight of a little boy suffering from cancer.

Although these books do not exempt patients from receiving medical care, they allow them to have reliable information and receive additional advice for treatment.

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