Your Patients May Not Know How To Get The Help They Need.
I remember when my mom was dying and I was sitting vigil with her in the hospital on the last day of her life. My brother, who I was close to, said to me, “There really ought to be someone who can help people with this.” And what he meant by “this”, it was the dying process. I said to him, “This is what I do, I am a hospice volunteer.” My brother knew me very well and knew that I worked with the dying, but he couldn’t imagine what that meant. And if he couldn’t imagine what a hospice worker does, then a lot of people may be confused or unsure.
We can’t assume that our patients know how to get what they need. They may not even know what they need. They don’t know that there are specialists who can help them make their home safer for the patient, help them with applying for disability benefits or help them make decisions about both the short and long term plans. As professionals, you need to help them access the appropriate resources. If as a physician you don’t have the time, then make a referral to a social worker who can help the family cope with their changing life and health situation. Or find out what resources are available in your community and help them make the connections yourself.
I get called by so many people, whether it is for help during the dying process, help with figuring out what to decide when the patient can’t speak for themselves anymore or how to deal with a conflict in the hospital. You aren’t alone. I can help you when you are wondering, “Am I on the right track here? Am I doing the right thing?” You can run it by me and I will talk you through it.
Have a kind and respectful day.