HOW TO SUPPORT SOMEONE WITH A SERIOUS ILLNESS
GO BEYOND YOUR DUTIES
When the patient is under your care, offer care beyond your call of duty and exceed the expectations. Pay attention to all the details, take the responsibility to determine if everything that the physician recommends is done even when it is the role of the patient. If for example the patient should avoid sleeping on one side due to injury or disease lie lung illness, make a point of ensuring the recommended sleeping but also turn them occasionally to prevent discomfort. Also, define any other needs by the patient such as additional blanket if it is cold or turning the air con when it becomes hot.
LISTEN AND ACT ON COMPLAINTS
A patient with severe illness is likely to complain of pain many times. Do not take it to be the norm. Listen to the complaint m resolve it and inform the patient about the solution. If there is no immediate solution, make encouraging statements that strengthen the resolve of the patient in dealing with the situation. Always assume that the patient has reason to complain until you determine if it is genuine. Do not chide the person even when there was no adequate reason to complain.
DEVELOP AN INTEREST IN THE PATIENT
Show some interest in the patient to gain their trust and make it easy for them to interact. Make the patient know that you care by remembering their name, family members, their likes, dislikes or favorite meals. It makes the patient feel welcome.
SUPPORT BY NON-PROFESSIONAL CAREGIVERS
You can support a patient even when you are not a trained healthcare professional in these ways.
Let the patients notice that you think about them even when there is a need to leave them alone for some time to allow privacy and rest. Stay with the patient if possible and regularly call for updates. Nonetheless, it is essential to avoid both if it will become intrusive or overwhelming.
ASSIST IN ADHERING TO DOCTOR’S PRESCRIPTIONS AND INSTRUCTIONS
Patients with a serious illness can forget to take their medication and do another thing that their physicians prescribe. Other are unable to do it. Make it your duty to see to it that the patient takes medicine at the right time, eats the prescribed diet, exercises and rests to the recommended level. Offer to accompany the patients to medical appointments. The ill person might not be strong enough for convenient commuting to the facility and communication with the healthcare providers. You will assist with conversation and hear what the doctor prescribes in case the patient forgets after leaving the clinic.
HELP IN RUNNING ERRANDS
Create a schedule allowing you to have some time for helping the patient with small activities such cleaning, grocery shopping, dropping meals or caring for their pets.
SEND ENCOURAGING MESSAGES
It is essential that you encourage a patient and make him feel good by sending a get-well card or e-mail. Keep informing the patient that their ailing is in your thoughts and prayers. Do not expect an acknowledgment or stop encouraging the person if you do not get a response. You can also send a gift pack with relevant items such as fruit, music CDs, lotion or an interesting book. It will make the patient feel appreciated and part of life for the healthy people.
Whether you are taking care of a patient at home or healthcare facility, it is essential that you listen. Many people tend to bombard patients with upbeat messages but sometimes all the person requires is for someone to listen. Let the patient narrate much as he wants without interrupting. At the end of the talk, the patient feels someone understands their situation. The quiet support with your presence and interest in the monologue helps the person in getting off the disturbing thoughts.