Chronic illness is a persistent disease, prolonged in duration, one that can usually be controlled but not cured. But this explanation can be found in every medical text book. Due to the fast growing aging population the doctor needs to know how to manage even more situations. What should he do? How should he behave? I think that he needs a patient-centered approach to make ill people feel properly cared for during every medical interaction. It is essential that the doctor take his patient’s character traits and personality into consideration.
There are patients who are more pain-tolerant, while others have trouble coping with increased disability and pain which affect them physically as well as psychologically. They are also coping with decreased functioning.
A physician needs to be empathetic, genuine and careful not to say anything without due forethought. Maybe the doctor could ask himself:-
- How would I feel if I had a disease that was constantly reducing my ability to do the things I did a few months ago?
- How would I feel if I experienced constant sleeplessness, pain and the inability to leave home on my own?
- How would I feel if I could no longer drive, walk my dog, do my supermarket shopping on my own, or lose the ability to feel comfortable attending a party?