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Avoiding Some Topics To Those That Are Sick

If our loved ones are sick, we are keen to find ways to comfort them and assist them with our best intentions. But often our great intentions are not always received and fail. Here a few guidelines to avoid conflict when offering to assist those that are sick.helping hand

DON’T ask what you can do to help!  That’s right, don’t ask just do it. Patients don’t want the burden put on them to come up with something you can do however, they do want you to do something. The dullest tasks can be the most helpful whether it’s cooking dinner, taking out the bin, replace the light bulbs, collecting the mail, taking their kids to school, or ask what you can pick up at the grocery store. Don’t ask for the direction but take the initiative.

DO say, “Do you want me to come over while you wait for test results?”

DO say, “I’m bringing dinner Thursday. Do you want lasagna or chicken?” Again, it’s usually better to just do something rather than asking for permission or direction.

DO say, “I have Monday free if you need me to run some errands or take you somewhere.”

DON’T say, “You look great.” Very sick people are aware that their hair is falling out, their skin is covered with sores, or they’ve become skeletal. Mentioning the appearance of a sick person at all just reminds them of how they look.

DO say, “Can I take your kids for a play date? My kids are bored.”

DO say, “Don’t write back.” All patients get overwhelmed with the burden of keeping everyone informed and feeling appreciated. If you write someone a thoughtful email, say that you don’t expect a reply. If you take the dog for a walk, insist the patient not write a thank you note.

DO say, “I don’t know what to say to you right now, but I truly care about you.”

DO say, “I need to leave you now.” Most sick people cannot handle long visits. Don’t overstay your welcome. Try visiting for 20 minutes, even less if the patient is tired or in pain. And while you’re there, do some of those tasks that are awaiting without burdening the patient.

DO say, “Would you like to hear some news?” A change of topic goes a long way. Patients are often sick of talking about their illness. Even someone recovering from surgery has an point of view to share and it can take the focus off their problem.

DO say, “Do you just need to talk to someone? I’m all ears!”

DO say, “I really admire how you are handling this. I know it’s difficult.”

DO say, “You are amazing.”  Again, more positive affirmation.

DO say, “I love you.” When all else fails, simple, direct emotion is the most powerful gift you can give a loved one going through pain. It doesn’t need to be fancy or fussy, it just needs to be sincere.

With these simple guidelines, the patient will look forward to your next visit and their recovery will be made much easier.

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