Support systems, an integral part of recovery from ailments

Providing support to people suffering from illness is a delicate job. It requires patience and empathy. Strong support gives patients a way to process their emotions. The layers of support that are created around the patient should be able to help them to cope with the physical as well as the mental adversities. These support systems can come in many forms like family, faith-based community, neighborhood or support groups. But the most important thing that should be provided to an ailing individual is hope. It is very difficult for people to go on with their pace or strength of belief and endurance after being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. Most of the time, it takes a toll on mental health even before the ailment presents itself physically.  Support systems and caregivers can provide logistic help as well. Apart from emotional support, caregivers can help family and friends of the patient with practical issues like taking them to appointments and also being present there for help. It is often seen that when one is diagnosed with an ailment, which is serious and incurable, it often leads to disruption of life, work, and relationships.

Having a good support system makes sure that there are people to listen to and depend on. Peer support is one of the most sought after support groups as it consists of people who have gone through similar conditions and hence can help a newly diagnosed person with their inspiring experiences and situations. Patients with a good social support system tend to have better outcomes. People who care for their loved ones or any member of a support group often experience burn out. Therefore it is incredibly important for members of support groups to know how much of themselves they can give. It is important for them to sometimes take a step back and analyze whether the needs of the patient are actually being met or not.

Illness for each individual is a unique experience that they respond to differently. Hence it is important to listen to an individual’s personal choice when taking care of them. Patients react with anxiety, sadness, fear, anger and sometimes also with a façade of nonchalance. Sometimes patients need support and other times they need to be left alone. Therefore their choices must always be understood and respected. Sometimes it’s very difficult for the caregiver to resonate with a terminally ill patient and hence it becomes difficult to help them. In these cases, support groups within the community can help a lot. Support systems can provide help with referral visits and transition to a hospital, follow-ups, making sure the discharge list focuses on action and not just history, communicating patient’s needs and preferences, identifying problems and intervening to solve them.

An excellent support system can be built if the patient can be convinced to talk to their family and friends and talk about the diagnosis, asking for help and reaching out and connecting with fellow patients and caregivers.

A good support system is needed when it comes to taking care of ailments. Friends and family are always willing to help but they often do not know what to do or how to act. In the midst of a support group, a patient is very likely to find answers and people who can empathize.

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