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Posts Tagged ‘Attendants’

When a loved one suddenly falls sick, our first reaction is that of disbelief. Then comes denial.Caring Michelangelo's_Pieta Superior powers get questioned as to why they thought it fit to bestow the loved one with such a challenge. Gradually, acceptance dawns and one moulds the activities of one’s life around the new core of reality. The health challenge could be either an accident or a serious ailment or even a lifestyle disease which behaves like an unbidden guest who refuses to go away.

How does one manage a change of this nature? Well, here are seven habits which can be cultivated to transform a wide-eyed and bewildered soul into an effective Caregiver.

Communicating as per the Psychology of the Patient

There are patients who prefer to show off their illnesses to any and all who express concern. They would prefer to wear their ailments on their sleeves, much like a Chopard watch. Then there are those who would consider an illness a strictly private affair, not to be discussed even within their close circle of friends. Based on the category under which one’s loved one falls, a Caregiver would tailor his/her communication to those around accordingly.

When it comes to communicating with a patient, there could be occasions on which the Caregiver can choose to be a hypocrite. Even if the Caregiver harbors a seething anger and a burning anxiety within his/her bosom, it helps to maintain the sang froid, so to say. A calm exterior and a cheerful disposition on the Caregiver’s part radiates a youthful energy all around, thereby lessening the level of anxiety and the fear of the unknown felt by the loved one.

Expecting the Unexpected

Lifestyle diseases are silent killers. These tend to accelerate the ageing process. Since all organs of the body are interconnected, complications involving other vital organs of the body could start popping up at unexpected times. It surely helps to have a prognosis and a crisis handling plan in place so as to minimize the subsequent setbacks, if any.

Cultivating a Circle of Doctors

The leisurely days of having a single family doctor are no longer with us. Considering the prognosis of the disease, it helps to have a circle of three kinds of medical experts. A specialist who addresses the core sickness, a generalist who can advise on side effects of drugs and can take care of peripheral issues as and when these come up and a group of friendly doctors which can be counted upon to provide a second opinion and whose help can be invaluable in case of an emergency.     

Being Prepared for a Long Haul

Lifestyle diseases creep in on one rather quietly. Once these settle down in the body, it is notPatient Medicines easy to wish these away. Yes, a sustained effort supported by exercise, meditation, medication and a positive mindset do help to keep these under check. One therefore needs to be prepared for a long haul, needing a strong will power and perseverance, especially on the Caregiver’s part.

Mind over Matter

It is critical to ensure that the patient remains relaxed and happy. Thus, it is important to create a stress-free environment with as much fun and frolic thrown in as possible. Knowing what makes the person happy and arranging the same is of crucial importance. A Caregiver needs to be prepared to make sacrifices to give up his/her own beliefs and individual fancies to ensure that the patient remains in a positive frame of mind.

Advising Wisely

The worst thing a Caregiver can do is to compare the condition of the patient with that of another afflicted with the same disease. Each individual is uniquely configured. Even though the broad principle of a treatment may be the same, there could be many variations based on the individual condition and temperament of the patient.

Advice should be given only when it is sought. Unsolicited inputs end up confusing and demoralizing the patient. Heresy dressed up as wise counsel often comes in from those who come calling on the patient. A Caregiver’s role is that of a filter which ensures that the patient receives a feedback which is balanced and objective.

Taking Care of Oneself

A Caregiver cannot afford the luxury of being sick himself/herself! The primary responsibility Caring Michelangelo_pietà_rondaniniis to take care of oneself, so the support provided to the patient does not get diluted.

Such habits, if inculcated by the Caregiver consciously, can help the patient to recover faster and better.

Overall, an important issue is that of the will and faith of the patient. If the patient believes that all will be well, good health is quite likely to follow. Faith in the doctor, as also in the medicine being taken, can work wonders. The Caregiver’s primary task is to create and sustain this belief in a realistic manner.

Those of you who face a similar challenge in life may like to comment and add a few more habits which they find useful. 

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As we celebrate this year’s Doctor’s Day, one’s thoughts inevitably turn to the string of doctors who have treated oneself as also near and dear ones at some point of time or the other. A word of gratitude is surely in order. For these are the people who show us light when we are enveloped by the darkness of ill-health. They give us hope when we need it the most. They have the capacity to ease our minds, make us worry less about our sickness and do their very best to lessen our pain and suffering.Doctors Day

They have to necessarily cope with patients of all sizes, shapes and temperaments whose income and curiosity levels also vary. Some patients are content with merely following instructions, whereas others who believe in self-medication and suffer from ‘Googlitis’ merely come to see a doctor to get a confirmation of the sickness they already believe they are suffering from. If the doctor comes up with an unfamiliar name of illness, orders a new test or prescribes a hitherto unheard of  medicine, such patients go back quite convinced that the doctor is a ‘good’ one!

If one has a complaint, it is only that they work too hard, often neglecting their own well-being in the process. One silently admires their chin-up attitude; despite remaining surrounded by human misery in possibly its worst form, they continue to smile and keep their focus on the task at hand. The poor souls have family responsibilities just like all of us. However, for a vast majority of them, patients are always the first priority, virtually 24X7.

The Angels in White

Same can be said of the nurses, technicians and other para-medics who are eternally vigilant in taking care of the patients under theirFlorence_Nightingale charge. The angels in white uniforms ensure that the right medicines are being taken at the right time. They also grapple with issues facing several patients at any point in time, coordinating with each of the doctors concerned and ensuring that relevant instructions are rigorously followed.

Nurses play an important role in maintaining the morale of the patients as well as the relatives at an appropriate level. Often, they have to bear with patients who have a foul temper. A caring and compassionate nature, coupled with a high Emotional Quotient, helps them to handle their complex task.

The Patient Patients

It is rather baffling that while we celebrate a Doctor’s Day (July 1 in India, March 30 in US) as also a Nurse’s Day (May 12 internationally), we do not spare a thought for the hapless patients. Their contribution to the field of medical science is no less; the entire medical fraternity owes its existence to patients! Moreover, besides being sick, they have to show remarkable patience while undergoing the trauma of getting treated – in getting an appointment with the doctor, endlessly waiting in queues to see one, pushing around to get all kinds of diagnostic tests done, rushing back to the doctor to get medicines prescribed and then going through the whole treatment.

In case a surgery becomes necessary, the immediate family gets involved. In these days of nuclear families, the support of theCartoon Dr Patient family’s social network becomes critical. The fear of impending surgery gnaws at the inner being of the patient, whose energy gets all the more depleted in the process. The fact that the he/she is causing so much trouble to all near and dear ones goes on to add to his/her agony. Post-surgery, pain and trauma have to be faced to which all others can only be mere spectators. Back home, an endless routine of visitors starts, with some of them making uncharitable and insensitive comments which make the poor patient suffer even more mental anguish.

The Silent Sufferers – Attendants

And what about the hapless attendants? They have to practice multi-tasking no end. Answering calls from anxious but distant relatives while procuring medicines is only one facet of the challenge. Organizing food which strikes a delicate balance between what is wanted and what is needed by the patient is another one. If admitted to a hospital, lot of formalities and paper work may become necessary. Round-the-clock surveillance becomes necessary. Skills in house-keeping come in handy, because prior to the scheduled visit of the doctors on rounds, the nurse with a stiff upper lip keeps nagging the attendant till the time the patient is in a ‘presentable’ condition and the room is tidy and orderly. Naturally, the fairer of the species fit into such roles with much ease!

For an attendant, PR skills are a sine qua non, because an endless stream of visitors has to be managed. In most cases, patients treatMother_Teresa_memorial_plaque the number of visitors as a clear measure of their personal popularity index. Nothing would cheer them up more than to keep a tally of the kind of fruits and goodies brought in by various visitors, so the favor may be returned at some future date in a proportionate manner. On their part, some of the visitors leave the hospital in a cheerful mood, thanking the Divine for not putting them in the patient’s predicament.

One would propose that as a caring society, we seriously consider declaring days earmarked to celebrate a World Patient Day as well as a World Attendant Day. The European Union has already taken a lead in this direction, with May 15 being observed as a Patient’s Rights Day. One sincerely hopes that other forward-looking countries would not only declare Patient Days but also honor the nameless attendants who silently slog and bring some relief and succour to the ailing patients. This would ensure an equitable treatment to all those who play a crucial role in the well-being of Homo sapiens!

Medicine-related blogs on this site:

  1. 1.   ‘A First Hand Experience in Medical Tourism’, published December 14, 2012
  2. 2.   ‘The Miracle of Alternative Therapies’, published March 31, 2012

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