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OP0258-PARE Families, partners and friends, the ones’ left out
  1. S. David
  1. Private Practice, Nicosia, Cyprus


Background Having worked with clients and rheumatic patients of various background, academic standard and status, I came to a realization that most of them for some significant period they were solo players into dealing with their disease. Either they carefully kept the disease for themselves over the mere motive to protect their family from hurt and anguish, or because significant others couldn’t handle the disease and its symptoms. Family, partners and even friends when confronted with the disease of their loved one, within them feelings of helplessness, anxiety, and uncertainty prevail.

Objectives Through our therapeutic relationship with a rheumatic patient, as a Therapist, I aim to guide the client into feeling safe enough to turn openly his/her health status to his/her family, partner, friends and invite them on board the treatment stage. Upon acquiring a clear understanding over their loved ones’ situation, on a primary level they often need to confront and finally come in terms with their own feelings, however on a later stage, they seem to focus on how to better support, comfort and care their loved ones. Facing the disease together, it’s merely a win-win situation, as the patients’ needs are taken care of, and the system feels safe, competent and motivated to meet those needs.

Methods Once the client reaches an optimum level of “easiness” with their disease, we involve the system, that is, we invite the partner and/or the client’s family. There, we introduce the partner with the disease, its symptoms and the feelings that accompany it. This information is vital and it aids the partner to put fatigue, unexplained behaviors, or moodswings in place. Being in this procedure the partner has the opportunity to express his concerns over the treatment and the development of the disease, as well as to explore and deal with feelings of helplessness and anger, even face their own hidden fears.

Results Once family and partners are informed about the disease, the procedure seems friendlier. Communication soothes the way. Patients are more comfortable talking about their disease, any treatment alterations, the symptoms they experience here and now, the feelings they have at the time, thus families and partners have a better understanding of their loved ones’ situation. Having this knowledge, they seek more information, they question doctors and treatments, they resolve their fears, they feel involved, they feel needed, they have better understanding, thus they comfort and support their partner. Being involved enhances problem solving on everyday practical issues and strengthens their relationship.

Conclusions Rheumatic diseases have a strong impact on Families, partners and friends of the person who experience it. Special attention is placed on the patient, while as partners and family are being considered strong and healthy they are often neglected thus they fight their fears alone. On the contrary communication eases the way, and being involved, improves the quality of life of all parties.

Disclosure of Interest None Declared

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