Tuesday, 17 April 2018

THE PATIENT AND FAMILY CV: A CONVERSATION CHANGER!

A couple of weeks ago, I was scanning my Twitter feed and this caught my attention:




Lindsay Fallow is a patient who wants his doctors to know that he is MORE than a patient - he is a person with interests and talents, a family and an illness. I think his idea is wonderful because it not only humanizes an encounter with medical professionals, it kickstarts an entirely new kind of honest conversation - one that is likely to be kind. 

Well, the responses came in an excited flurry. Everyone LOVED it - doctors, patients, caregivers - everyone! If you're on twitter, search #patientcv for a taster of the enthusiasm. "I am more than my disease", this CV says. And also, "this is what I find difficult about my treatment, this is what I find helpful."
Conversations with doctors and other clinicians are hard enough, but when a loved one with a cognitive impairment, communication disorder or just a fear of white coats get tongue tied in the clinic, bad things happen for both patient health and peace on the home front. So it's time well spent for caregivers to help their loved one create a patient CV.
Another gem of a toolbox I found for helping along doctor/patient/family conversations is this one from this patient advocacy support site. There are reflection documents to fill out like this:
and 'barrier cards' that prompt discussion and self-understanding about what makes asking for help so hard to do. 
I believe that patients and families get better service (ie. the help we need when we need it) if medical professionals understand who we are, the effect that an illness or disability has upon us and what we find most challenging and most helpful. These tools are simple ways to ensure that happens. 

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