Helping Clients Navigate a Medical Crisis
A medical crisis can happen for a variety of reasons. It could be the diagnosis of a terminal illness, a sudden serious injury or a lot of little, seemingly manageable tasks that hit a critical mass and unexpectedly overwhelm a family caregiver.
Regardless of how a medical crisis begins, the results are typically the same. Families feel overwhelmed; there is a disruption to their daily routines, stress is put on relationships, and often finances are thrown into turmoil. The roller coaster of emotions families feel as a result of a medical crisis are common and often stem from a feeling of helplessness and having more questions than answers.
As professionals, you may find yourself being asked to help a family navigate the challenges in the immediate aftermath of a medical crisis. To help you deliver superior customer service to your clients, we recommend the following advice:
Have your clients start by focusing on the small, manageable problems that can be quickly resolved. By solving small problems, and finding answers along the way, your clients will start to feel more at ease and gain a sense of confidence that they can successfully navigate their way through the crisis.
Help your clients connect with resources. Chances are, your clients are not the first ones to experience a crisis of this nature. From serious accidents to major illness to coping with a terminal diagnosis, there are many thriving online communities where members lend emotional support, share experiences and discuss solutions to challenges they are facing. Often, there are local support groups that meet in person.
Encourage your clients to be honest about their needs and build a support network so they don’t have to “go it alone.” In the aftermath of a medical crisis, whether it’s rehabilitation or management of a chronic condition, there will be needs that your client’s immediate family or close friends are ill-equipped to handle. Remind your client there is no shame in admitting they need help through this challenging time. Encourage them to turn to family, friends, support groups and other professionals in the community to get the assistance they need.
Discuss with your clients the importance of managing stress. During the crisis, and throughout the recovery process, there will be stress. Situations will undoubtedly arise that increase stress. Stress management is crucial. Too much stress can impact physical, emotional and mental well-being. A strong support network and being connected to a community can help manage stress. Additionally, Cleveland Clinic has these recommendations individuals can follow to help manage stress.
Impart to your clients the importance of staying organized. As you are likely well aware, the American medical system is fragmented and complex. For individuals having their first in-depth experience with our medical system, this can come as a shock. As your clients work through this crisis, they will receive treatment instructions, information about medications, dietary advice, medical bills, insurance statements and many other documents. Keeping these documents, as well as detailed notes from conversations with providers, organized and together can help your clients feel more in control of the situation and able to quickly find the information they are seeking.
IKOR Advocates are ready to help you and your clients navigate any challenges that come their way. Contact your local IKOR Managing Director today to learn more about our portfolio of services.