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Dealing with illness is a challenge for the affected patient and everyone close to the patient. While disease can strike at any time and usually comes unannounced, seeing a person close to you suffering from a medical condition can be incredibly exhausting for many reasons. First and foremost, as social beings, we tend to empathize. We feel, or want to feel, what the person next to us is experiencing as a way to burden ourselves with some of their suffering.
Not only are you preoccupied with worrying about how the treatment will progress, but you're also left wondering about all the possible complications and unknowns, as well as the different ways you might offer your love and support to your friends and family during these trying times.
Doctors understand that you have a lot on your mind when caring for a sick loved one, and below is a list of things to do to support your friends and family when they are suffering.
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Acceptance - If you're like most people, it's hard time to wrap your head around the fact that your loved one may not be in the best of health. With that said, however, accepting the situation and coming to terms with the fact that your loved ones are going through a tough time is the best way to ensure that you'll be able to provide them with the support and love that they need during a difficult phase in their lives.
If you're too preoccupied worrying about all that could have been done to prevent such a situation from arising in the first place, chances are that you won't be able to provide your friends or family with the love and support that they need most when they are suffering from a serious illness, condition or disease. By accepting the situation, you can focus on ways to be present and cater to their emotional, spiritual, and physical needs.
Love is the answer - The psychological aspect of serious and life-threatening injuries and diseases can never be overemphasized. It is common for patients to, at some point, begin to feel like they are burdening their friends and loved ones.
It is easy for patients to feel like they are troubling those around them too much or be concerned that you do not want to spend time with them any longer. Demonstrating to your sick friends and family your unconditional love in these testing times is your best way to ensure they do not only feel valued, but also know that they have a support system that they can count on when the going gets tough.
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Whether you can help by preparing meals at home or making handmade cards, leave no stone unturned when it comes to making your loved one feel better.
Keep them company - A common complaint of patients suffering from serious illnesses – especially when they are elderly – is that they feel lonely. Being present for your loved one is a tangible way of showing that you care.
Matthew Bogard, MD (Iowa, Nebraska)
Physician Dr. Matthew Bogard practices Emergency Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska. During his training at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine, he was selected to join the Advanced Rural Training Program, a four-year residency that trains physicians to provide comprehensive full-spectrum medical care. During his residency, Dr. Bogard served on the Board of Directors of the Nebraska Academy of Family Physicians, was active with the Nebraska Medical Association, mentored multiple medical students and was honored by the Nebraska Legislature as "Family Physician of the Day." Dr Matt Bogard primarily practices Emergency Medicine. Dr. Matt Bogard is Board Certified by the American Academy of Family Physicians and Board Eligible in Emergency Medicine.
Matthew Bogard, MD
Physician in Iowa and Nebraska
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