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  • Steven Corn

Reasons Why You Need A Patient Advocate #14: Emotions

Even if you are a healthcare-literate, intelligent person, caring for yourself or a loved one can be a very emotional situation.  As we all know, when emotions run strong, it can be very difficult to make tough decisions.  The logical part of our brain simply gets overpowered and pushed aside.

I experienced this exact situation yesterday.  My wife has been suffering from the flu for the past 9 days.  It has really hit her hard.  Her fever has been spiking for almost the entire time.  And a couple of days ago, she developed a new symptom, a very sore throat.

Even with all my experience and training, I felt uncertain about the best course of action.  Should I take her to urgent care or not.  I decided to use the UCLA nursing phone service and spoke with a nurse practitioner.  She didn't tell me anything that I didn't already know.  But she was able to be objective and provide some very needed perspective on the situation.  It was incredibly helpful and calming.

Today, I recognize that my emotions were clouding my usual, confident, decision-making abilities.  This is a very common experience for caregivers.

Caring for a loved one who is very ill can make one feel helpless and alone (even if other people are around).  A patient advocate (in this case, the NP) can be invaluable to help one assess and process the current situation.

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