Serving as caregivers and comforters

Breaking difficult news is one challenge many physicians face. Whether it’s regarding the patient’s personal health or giving a diagnosis to their family, finding the best ways to offer comfort and support can prove to be strenuous.

Former American Medical Association President Dr. Cecil B. Wilson said, “To heal, to comfort, to relieve pain — to be trusted with this most sensitive part of your patients' lives — is a great privilege.” But how do you fill your patients’ emotional needs in tough situations? Here are some ways you can provide support to your patients.
 
Put yourself in their shoes
Understanding the patient’s needs and struggles can put things into perspective. Imagine you or a loved one were going in for a routine checkup and something unexpected was detected. How would you want your doctor to deliver that news? Making that personal connection can help the patient and their families feel that they are in good hands.

Build a personal relationship
Creating a relationship with your long-term patients can help them feel confident and positive when beginning their treatment with you. Ask about hobbies, children or other events that may be going on their lives to show a personal interest.

Offer extended support
Sometimes there is only so much emotional support you can offer as a physician. Being able to refer your patients to the right professionals can make all the difference. The two of you, along with your patient’s family, can work together to create the best support system possible.

What are some ways you offer comfort to your patients? Tweet to us at @AngiesListBC using the hashtag #CaregiversAndComfort to share your stories and thoughts with other health care providers.