Throughout the journey, being patient- and caregiver-centric is extremely important for their well-being.
Here is a brief list of recommendations that can help you better help them.
When the diagnosis is confirmed and it is time to tell caregivers about their children’s condition, take the extra time needed to clearly explain the diagnosis and to clarify any doubts they have.
You can recommend books or support groups that include other families, if you feel that caregivers have a lot of questions and need to talk things through.
You can also suggest to caregivers that they attend workshops that explain more about cerebral palsy. A recent study showed that this helps them be better equipped to care for their child.1
All throughout the journey, your ability to take time to listen and to respond empathetically to both the caregiver and the patient will help them better cope. Using emotion-seeking skills to address the emotions expressed through the NURS method (naming, understanding, respecting and supporting) can be helpful2
Get in touch with other colleagues and ask about new developments or gatherings happening around cerebral palsy.
Be proud of your work and use your energy to empower families who have children with cerebral palsy.
How to communicate understanding, alleviate distress and provide support to your caregivers and patients3
|Recognise or elicit a patient’s empathic opportunity
Encourage expression of feelings
|Notice patients’ nonverbal communication
|Work toward a shared understanding of the patient’s emotion/experience
||Ask open questions
|Avoid leading questions
Avoid giving premature reassurance
|Empathically respond to the emotion/experience
Praise patient efforts
|Identify patient’s strengths and sources of support
|Facilitate coping and connect to social support
||Ask open questions
Endorse question asking
Make partnership statements
Express a willingness to help
Table adapted from: Pehrson C et al. Responding empathically to patients: Development, implementation, and evaluation of a communication skills training module for oncology nurses. Patient Educ Couns. 2016; 99(4): 610–16.
- Dambi JM et al. An evaluation of psychometric properties of caregiver burden outcome measures used in caregivers of children with cerebral palsy: a systematic review protocol. Syst Rev. 2016; 5: 42.
- Smith C. Smith's Patient-Centered Interviewing: An Evidence-Based Method, 3e. 2012. 320 pages.
- Pehrson C et al. Responding empathically to patients: Development, implementation, and evaluation of a communication skills training module for oncology nurses. Patient Educ Couns. 2016; 99(4): 610–16.