Red help wanted sign

The Difficult Patient

How Good Are you at Accepting Help?

Isn’t it interesting that some of us don’t like to ask for or accept help and support?  Not everyone of course and it can be quite challenging when some people can’t seem to stop asking for help, even when they might not need it – but that’s for another Neighbourgood News item.  Right now, I want to think about reluctance or refusal to accept help and the kind of problems it might lead to.

Are You a Difficult Patient?

Red help wanted sign

Help Wanted
photo credit: andjohan

Well I am not really talking about Manflu here even though I have experienced it myself and think that the most trustworthy cure is plenty of TLC!  But what are you like at asking for help?  Do you feel that you should manage things yourself or perhaps that you are not deserving enough?  Maybe you think you are a burden to others or perhaps, that you don’t want other people knowing your business and that you will be thought of as weak in some way.  These feelings in my experience, are not uncommon.

Back to the Manflu thing for a moment now and this idea that others might think badly of us. We worry that people might think we are weak, needy or burdensome but these things are most likely fantasy. This isn’t to say that there is no discrimination out there and that this can include these negative attitudes towards disability, but I would suggest that the people close to us or providing support and care are not likely to think that way and equally, any professional care should be offered and provided without fear of discrimination.

These are complicated things to write and think about and I am sure we will visit the topic of discrimination again. For now, I am only thinking about our own view of our own needs and questioning how we might think about ourselves. If you for any reason, think you don’t need help, it might be hard to help you!

Difficult Patient is Difficult to Help

When in need of help and support it is not a bad idea to think about exactly what you think you do and do not need.  Whoever it is providing help, whether it is a doctor, social worker, personal carer or family member, they need to know and to work out with you, exactly what they are needed.  If you are sure about what you need, you can explain that to those who need to know.  This could also include working out what other things might be useful and even how long the help might be required.  If you still think you need help but find it difficult to ask for it, then tell people that as well.

Let’s say for example, you have trouble remembering important things like taking medication of paying bills.  You might think that a solution would be for another person to do those things for you but there are plenty of things you could try to prevent that.  Simple things could be using a diary kept in your home, or having a small notice board in your kitchen.  If you find it difficult to keep those things up together yourself then maybe another person could help you plan every couple of weeks.

The Perfect Patient

I wonder if at times we think that the perfect patient, if there is such a thing, is the person who always does as they are told and never questions advice.  I prefer to see the ideal being a person who can be helped and supported.  When carers think that a person is impossible to help and needs help, things can get tricky.  People can be reluctant for all kinds of reasons but the last thing you need is to be labelled the Difficult Patient.  Problems come when those who need help actively resist help.  This can lead to their problems getting worse and for people to try harder help which in turn, can lead to tension.

How do You Feel?

In particular, how do you feel about the idea of the difficult patient?  Do you try to help people who find it difficult to accept support or maybe you need help and don’t want it.  Share your thoughts through the comments here.

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