Wednesday, 4 December 2013

So many "E"s in Our Lives

There are so many "E"s in ePatient. We've got engaged, empowered, equipped and enabled as goals, and many of us are working diligently to achieve "all E"s on our progress cards. The resulting (hoped for) collaboration with our doctors is a big step from the position most of us are in when we get a chronic disease diagnosis.
ePatient by Anet

To take on an active role in our care we need to be empowered, equipped, enabled and engaged.  As we truly start working on upgrading our skills to effective levels there are a few other "E" things that will help us.  It's almost like a puzzle game. Finding those special "E"s can help you to become an ePatient. 

I think the missing "E"s are encouragement and empathy, and it is the letter E that is sponsoring this idea.
A letter from our sponsor.

You can use them in your own attitudes towards yourself, but they are most powerful when they come from someone else

With a sudden health problem that is unlikely to disappear you wish for superpowers just to get to the normal level that other people appreciate. Sometimes it's empathy or encouragement that gives you the key to gaining knowledge or improvement.

Empathy  - you know when it's not there - can be enhanced by some films or books as described in this blog post called "Empathy - The Secret Sauce in Physiotherapy?". Coincidentally my best source of encouragement has been my physiotherapist. See this post about a turning point for more details about encouragement/empathy.

Here's another story/post where coaching and encouragement were good for doctor and patient. I really liked Dr. Thiele Isip Tan's enjoyment of her patient's success.

Maid of the Mist Double Rainbow. Dad's last cruise

For me the old model of doing everything that I was told and feeling that poor progress was my failure has been left in the past. 

And on the positive side I read (and can't find the link) that having a chronic illness and treating it very well is a secret to a long life.

Here's another link that I liked Placebo, Nocebo, and Expectations: Leveraging Positive Outcomes. The idea that even non-verbal clinical behaviour can influence patient outcomes certainly helps to explain why some patients thrive with a certain course of treatment while others don't.

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