13.3 Patient support

See reference 5

Patient support is the shared responsibility of the entire health care team (clinicians, nurses, treatment supporters, social workers, etc.). It is a continuous process because adherence to treatment varies over time, and any patient can go through phases of treatment acceptance and rejection. In large-scale programmes, the health care team sometimes includes a team of counsellors to provide information and support.

Patient education

Patient education consists of:
– Helping the patient to understand his/her disease and treatment;
– Enabling the patient to acquire and maintain skills that allow him/her to optimally manage his/her disease in daily life;
– Answering the patient’s questions throughout the entire treatment.

For more information, see Appendix 14.

Emotional support

Listen to the patient, give encouragement, and gain his/her trust, so that s/he does not have to hide the fact that s/he has forgotten or made a mistake in his/her treatment. These things happen fairly often, and it is important to know about them in order to help find solutions.

Social support

Implement social support measures for patients with limited resources. Depending on the specific needs of patients:
– Social workers can help to obtain disability allowances, housing assistance, shelter for the homeless, etc.
– The programme can provide meals or food; vouchers or money for transportation, or can reimburse the costs of transportation, fuel, etc.