Thursday, 5 April 2012

We all deal with things differently

I spend most of my spare time talking to people who's lives have been affected by cancer, either directly or indirectly, including patients, relatives, friends, and also health professionals. My personal experience has been an  extremely harsh apprenticeship to serve but I can understand why it had to be done, to enable me to do the work that I do now.

The skills that I developed in my business life, together with my personal cancer experience, have meant that I now have a vast back catalogue of experiences that I can call on when required. This experience was of great use, when I was talking to two people who had received a similar diagnosis.

Both people were offered a similar treatment schedule.But each person had received their information in a different way. For the first person, they had considered all their options and the effects that any decisions would have on their family. They had considered what the Consultant had told them, then after weighing everything up, made their choice.

The second person was entirely different. They were worried and confused, and therefore found it more difficult to make a decision. They felt that they needed more information to help them. but got more confused.

This is an example of how difficult it can be to find the appropriate information for you, and where we all have to be careful. Often in my work we talk about the importance of information, which is true, as it will be the tool that informs the decisions we make. However we all deal with information differently. Some of us can consume and disect a vast amount of information but others can't.

In my own case I would like to make the point that no matter how many recipe books I read, I would still be unable to make beans on toast!! Meaning that this information is wasted on me, as I have no idea of cooking whatsoever. My solution to that, is to go nowhere near one. I know my own strengths and weaknesses.

The above situation is a very typical example of life in general. How a similar thing can be said to two different people, and provoke very different reactions. That is why I am working towards a much more personal approach as I feel that although you can't make someone elses decision for them you just might be able to help guide them through the mist that they have suddenly encountered.

I sometimes feel that health organisations think that they have done their job, by filling your fist with a bundle of booklets on your condition, when you receive your diagnosis or ask for help. For me, this is only the start. It certainly is an improvement on what used to happen twenty years or so ago and we all know that outcomes can be influenced by patient knowledge. So we have to understand that some people might need a bit more help than others.

This all comes back to spending a bit more time with someone, then experience will tell you who might need some help and who doesn't. It still never fails to shock me how many people come away from appointments with professionals, that just don't understand what has been said to them. I'm sure that problem is not always down to the person receiving the information.

It is very difficult to make a decision that will affect the rest of your life if you are not in the right 'place'. That is easier said than, done I know, but we are all different and need different things to help us. Sometimes less is more, in whatever area we work!!!

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