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SP0221 Family Dynamics Added Value
  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 the realization that most of them appear to be solo players, into dealing with their disease. As patients carefully keep the disease for themselves over the mere motive to protect their family from hurt and anguish, the family system, once confronted with the disease of their loved one, experience feelings of anxiety and helplessness.

Objectives Treatment should take place on two levels. On a primary level the focus is on the rheumatic patient. Within a therapeutic relationship the patient, is to be guided to examine and acknowledge the benefits of the family dynamics regarding the disease and the treatment stage. It is observed that patients upon diagnosis tend to isolate themselves and keep their system out. Since their safety net is seriously injured, they are reluctant to reach out to their closed ones, as they feel “trapped” within their health status. Thus patients are to be taught to reach out, release the quilt, and learn to accept the healing results, family dynamics provide. On a secondary level, family will be introduced and educated about the disease and the treatment stage. Information and clear understanding, clears the way for significant others, to display the desired behavior of support and attendance towards the patients' needs.

Methods The patient firstly is aided to organize a health plan with physicians, and on a second level to acknowledge the bodies' new strengths, thus employ new behaviors and attitudes which will lead into an optimum level of “easiness” with their disease. Following, the family system is involved. The disease is being introduced to them, its symptoms and the feelings that accompany it. This information, aids to put fatigue, unexplained behaviors, and moodswings in place. At this procedure, both the patient and the family, experience the opportunity to express concerns over the treatment and the development of the disease, as well as the chance to explore and deal with feelings of helplessness and anger which both sides experience.

Results Once family acquires information over the disease, the procedure becomes friendlier. Communication soothes the way. Patients on the one hand are more comfortable talking about their disease, any treatment alterations, symptoms they experience here and now, current feelings, and family on the other hand, having better understanding over the disease and the symptoms, seek for more information, question doctors, treatments and are far more supportive to the patient. They feel involved, needed, thus display better understanding, they comfort and support their loved one. By involving the family, problem solving on everyday practical issues is enhanced and the relationship is strengthened.

Conclusion Family dynamics offer holistic support on various levels. Commencing with practical matters and moving on to substantial emotional support at times of disappointment or crisis. The safety net the family provides acts as the stepping stone for the emotional stability of the patient, which in turn keeps the disease on a cooperative mode.

Disclosure of Interest None declared

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