Going The Extra Mile: Showing Emotional Support For Patients

Going The Extra Mile: Showing Emotional Support For Patients
Going The Extra Mile: Showing Emotional Support For Patients

Whether you are a nurse, a doctor, or even a caregiver, there are many ways in which you may have been trained to show support for your patients. If you put yourself in the shoes of one of your patient, you will quickly realize there are many things that would change. For most, a patient has some type illness or issue that prevents them from being healthy and performing normal activities that you may take for granted.

When considering patients, it’s important to remember what they are going through, and some of the possible side effects of the diagnosis they may receive. There are many physical, emotional, and even financial repercussions that may result from a medical diagnosis provided to a patient. Sympathizing and understanding the struggles or challenges they may be dealing with is one of the most important things that a caregiver can provide.

As a medical professional, your employer most likely trained you to undergo the common steps to helping a patient while they are in the realm of your care. Some of these steps include ensuring they are comfortable in the hospital, making sure they are being supervised, and ensuring they are recovering or gaining strength from whichever illness they may be overcoming while in your care. Outside of these core values, there are plenty of personal aspects in which medical professionals can show emotional support for their patients.

Show Concern

Outside of your daily routines and tasks in the office, it’s important that you show emotional concern and support for all patients you come into contact with. Take the extra step, and go outside of just providing the care they need, and checking on them regularly. Like stated before, put yourself in their shoes and try to empathize what they are dealing with on a day to day basis. Take a moment to think about some of the thoughts that are going through the patient’s head, and think of ways in which you can relate to them.

Initiate regular conversations with your patient, and ask them about family life and friends outside of the hospital. Not only does this show concern, but it helps the patient to relieve their mind of the current position they are in, and reflect upon things outside of their day to day events within the care facility.

Give Suggestions

The opinions and viewpoints of medical professionals such as doctors and nurses are valued at higher levels than they may imagine. When speaking with a patient, provide them with genuine suggestions that can help improve their daily routine. Speak with them about nutrition, dieting, and exercising habits that can aid in their recovery process. Maybe suggest support groups that can help their families outside of the care facility when coping with the current situation. Doctors and nurses can also provide resources to help the patient learn more about the medicine they are taking, and suggest online readings that can further educate their family on some of the normal or regular occurrences that patients may be dealing with.

Lend a Helping Hand

For that special bond, consider offering a helping hand to the patient or person under care. These can be smaller steps that make a large impact on a patient’s well-being and emotions. If you feel a special connection with someone dealing with cancer, go the extra mile and bring in a dessert of their choice one day. Or, offer to bake a meal for the patient’s family.

Is there an area of life, outside of the patients control that is bothering them? Perhaps there is a leak in their home that they cannot tend to because of their current status. Take the extra step, and coordinate a repairman to visit the patient’s home to take care of the leak. Completing small tasks such as these can make a larger-scale impact on a patient’s emotions and help them to stay more positive while they are under the care of medical professionals.

Do you know someone currently sick, or dealing with an illness or disease that has affected their ability to perform day to day tasks? Stop and brainstorm ways in which those providing care for these individuals can make a positive impact on patients and their emotions. The smallest gestures of kindness and concern can make a larger-scale impact than you may imagine. In what ways can you help someone dealing with a similar situation?

Heart attack and stroke patients in UK called on to take part in global study to reduce risk of secondary attack or stroke

Healthcare professionals
Healthcare professionals
3,000 people in the UK who have suffered a heart attack or stroke or have peripheral arterial disease are being recruited for a world-wide study which will investigate medication that could lower the risk of patients having a second cardiovascular event.

The new study called FOURIER (sponsored by Amgen Inc. and supported by the Imperial College Clinical Trials Unit) has been launched in the UK as part of a global programme (also taking place across Europe, US, Canada, Australia, Asia and Latin America) to provide more evidence to inform and guide future strategies in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease

The study will investigate whether taking a new type of treatment, which studies so far suggest can reduce LDL cholesterol by about 50%, on top of a statin will reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events compared to just taking statin therapy.

22,500 people who have had an ischaemic stroke, a heart attack or who have peripheral arterial disease are being recruited world-wide for the trial which is expected to last 5 years. People taking part in the study will receive an experimental cholesterol lowering study drug in combination with optimal statin therapy OR optimal statin therapy alone.

Over 1800 people have taken part in earlier phase studies with this agent to date and studies where it was given on top of a statin indicate it can reduce LDL cholesterol by over 50% compared to statin therapy alone. The new medication currently being researched is not yet licensed for use.

More people die from cardiovascular disease (CVD) each year than any other cause.[ii] In the UK the main cause of death was CVD, accounting for almost 180,000 deaths in 2010 – around 1 in 3 of all deaths.[iii] Almost half (48%) of all CVD deaths was due to coronary heart disease (CHD) and over a quarter (28%) are from stroke.3

If you have already had a heart attack or stroke or have peripheral arterial disease this puts you at greater risk of having a second cardiovascular event.2

However, the risk of recurrence or death can be substantially lowered with a combination of drugs – statins to lower cholesterol, drugs to lower blood pressure, and aspirin.2

High cholesterol is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease.  Every 1 mmol/L reduction in LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) reduces the annual risk of a heart attack or stroke by 20%.[iv]

European heart guidelines state that patients with disease causing stroke merit the same degree of attention to treatment of lipids as to patients with heart disease.[v]

The vast majority of patients are discharged from hospital on statin therapy following an ischaemic stroke.  However, the British Regional Heart Study found that only half continue to receive long-term statin therapy and only 31% receive all three recommended treatments (antiplatelet, blood pressure lowering, and statin).[vi]

The FOURIER study is recruiting patients to determine whether lowering LDL cholesterol by about 50% with a new kind of medication on TOP of a statin will further reduce the risk of having another heart attack or stroke.[vii]  It is the first study investigating this new kind of treatment to specifically include patients who have already suffered an ischaemic stroke.

If you are interested in taking part in the study, watch our video with Professor Neil Poulter – Professor of Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine at Imperial College, London to hear more about how you can put yourself forward for the trials.

[ii] WHO Fact Sheet 317.  March 2013. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs317/en/

[iii] Townsend N et al.  Coronary Heart Disease Statistics 2012 edition.  British Heart Foundation:London.

[iv] Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ Collaboration. Efficacy and safety of more intensive lowering of LDL cholesterol: a meta-analysis of data from 170 000 participants in 26 randomised trials. Lancet 2010;376:1670–81

[v] ESC guidelines on cardiovascular disease prevention in clinical practice (version 2012).  Eur Heart J 2012; 33:1635–1701 – page 1686 – accessed September 2013.  http://www.escardio.org/guidelines-surveys/esc-guidelines/GuidelinesDocuments/guidelines-CVD-prevention.pdf

[vi] Ramsay S et al. Missed opportunities for secondary prevention of cerebrovascular disease in elderly British men from 1999 to 2005: a population-based study. J Public Health 2007;29:251-57.

Poll – Would you ever consider taking part in medical market research?

Poll of the Week
Poll of the Week

I’ve just returned from a conference in London on the subject of healthcare and medical market research.  The area in which I used to work in fact.

Coming away it set me thinking about how patients and caregivers feel about such participation.  Have you ever taken part in a survey on medical or healthcare matters?  Are you interested in a expressing your opinions in groups discussions?

Feel free to share your experiences of research in the comments box below

But beforehand please take part in our poll below

Caregivers of Patients needed by the University of Oxford to take part in a survey about the health related web sites!

Oxford University
Oxford University

Patient and carers experiences of health can be an important source of information to other people with similar concerns. Traditional health information has been based on facts and figures, not the experiences of other patients or carers of people with similar conditions. Today health websites can contain traditional health information, accounts or stories of people’s experiences of health, blogs about health and discussion boards. It is important to understand what impact these health websites have on patients and carers.

A research team in the University of Oxford are researching the effects of sharing online patient and carer health information. The wider aim of this research is to find out how the NHS and other health information providers should incorporate people’s experiences into online health information in an effective manner.

Just click here to take part


One component of this research seeks to pilot-test a questionnaire to measure the impact of using health-related websites. This measure will be used in a clinical trial to assess the impact of websites containing personal experiences. It is therefore extremely important to establish if this questionnaire is suitable for its intended use. The questionnaire will also be available for use in future research.

The development of the e-Health Impact Questionnaire is being carried out in collaboration with a number of study groups in Northumbria, Oxford and Scotland. The Programme is funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

Can you help with this research?

The research team are asking carers who are aged 18 or over and have access to the internet to complete this questionnaire. They must also live in the United Kingdom.

In this study a ‘carer’ is a family member or friend who provides care in terms of help and support to a person due to their health condition. Examples of care are:

  • Personal care such as help with dressing or washing.
  • Healthcare such as help with medications or medical equipment.
  • Household duties such as cooking or shopping.
  • Physical care such as lifting or helping with walking.


What will taking part in this study involve?

Those wishing to take part in the study will be asked a series of questions about their general views of online health information. They will then be asked to spend 10-15 minutes browsing a care related website and answer a series of questions relating to that website. Where participants provide an email address, they will be sent an email after a period of two weeks asking them to repeat a section of the questionnaire again. This is to test if they questions are reliable and accurate over time. Completing the questionnaire should take approximately 20-25 minutes on two separate occasions.

How can I take part?

Please click on the following link to access the questionnaire: https://oxforddph.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_54JzaA3Ub5gWBG5

If you would like to contact the research team, you can do so by emailing Laura Kelly at laura.kelly@hmc.ox.ac.uk