Which patients does the “patient voice” represent?

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

There are patients. And then there are patients.  Let’s consider, for example, two friends of about the same age, same height, same size, same socioeconomic demographic – each one (in an amazingly freakish coincidence) a survivor of a similarly severe heart attack, admitted to the same hospital on the same day. Let’s call these two made-up examples Betty (Patient A) and Boop (Patient B).

Betty is diagnosed promptly in mid-heart attack, treated appropriately, recovers well, suffers very little if any lasting heart muscle damage, completes a program of supervised cardiac rehabilitation, is surrounded by supportive family and friends, and is happily back at work and hosting Sunday dinners after just a few short weeks of recuperation.

Boop, on the other hand, experiences complications during her hospitalization, recuperation takes far longer than expected, her physician fails to refer her to cardiac rehabilitation, she has little support at home from family, her cardiac symptoms worsen, repeat procedures are required, she suffers longterm debilitating consequences, and is never able to return to work.

Yet despite these profound differences, physicians would still describe both of these women with the same all-inclusive descriptor, “myocardial infarction” (heart attack).  Continue reading “Which patients does the “patient voice” represent?”

Which one’s right? Eight ways that patients and families can view heart disease

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

An interesting phenomenon that I used to observe in bereaved family members during my years working in hospice palliative care is the range of personal grieving styles, and the resulting conflicts over the “right way” to grieve.     Continue reading “Which one’s right? Eight ways that patients and families can view heart disease”