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Interventions for Clients Coping with Cancer
Interventions for Clients Coping with Cancer - 10 CEUs

Section 12
Hospital Anxiety

CEU Question 12 | CE Test | Table of Contents | Cancer
Psychologist CEs, Counselor CEUs, Social Worker CEUs, MFT CEUs

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On the last track we discussed breaking the news.  Techniques for breaking the news included timing, delegation and methods for telling children. 

On this track we will discuss hospital strategies.  Three strategies included on this track are decorating with things from home, requesting what you want, and saying no.  As you listen to this track, you might consider the client you are treating who is preparing to become hospitalized for treatment.  Could your client benefit from hearing how Jackson, Carey and Warren dealt with their stays in the hospital?

Clearly, moving into a hospital can be both comforting and disconcerting.  Jackson, age 57, had bone marrow cancer.  Jackson was preparing to be admitted to the hospital for treatment.  Jackson stated, "On one hand, the idea of hospitalization is relieving because I know I’ll be in expert hands.  My symptoms will be closely watched and administered to, and I know I’m going to be directly addressing the cancer.  But on the other hand, I’m leaving the comfort of my home and family and moving into a big, cold institution.  And not to mention the food, which generally lives up to its reputation for being just a notch below airline fare." 

I find that for clients like Jackson, hospitalization is a lot to take in all at once.  I stated, "While you don’t ease into a hospital room like a warm bath, you can mitigate its impact on your psyche.  From insisting on a different room to redecorating, a number of things can help you get used to hospitalization.  As for the food, you can always pick up the phone and order in some egg foo yung."  Jackson responded, "Yeah, if the delivery boy can penetrate the lobby of my apartment building to leave menus, he can certainly find my hospital room."  Think of your Jackson.  What hospital strategies might help your client get used to an extended hospital stay?

Decorating Technique:  Room, Sweet Room
In my experience treating clients with cancer, I’ve found that the more familiar and homelike clients can make their hospital room, the easier their stay will be.  Perhaps some of the techniques Jackson used to help him feel connected to the life he had temporarily left behind might benefit your client.   

Jackson stated, "My wife and her sister had brought in some framed pictures of the kids and all the family. My son brought a stereo so we could listen to some old rock and roll together.  He also brought in a DVD player and we watched a few movies.  My grandson kept arriving with all types of different crafts he had made at vacation bible school and at day care.  These things all really helped make my room feel a little more like home."  Think of your Jackson.  How might your client make his or her hospital room more comfortable? 

2 Additional Hospital Strategies

Here are some additional client strategies for hospital stays. 

1. Request What You Want
Carey, age 36, throat cancer patient, stated, "I wanted a single room, even though I would have to pay extra for it, but at first they said one wasn’t available.  They put me in a double room, and it was a lousy one, oddly configured, so I was stuck in a corner by the bathroom.  The doctor came in and asked how I felt.  I told him, ‘To hell with this.  Where is there a single room?’  Three hours later, two nurses came in and moved me to a single room."

2. Saying No
Another client, Warren, age 62, stated, "Before I got hospitalized, I thought staying in the hospital allowed you to rest.  Well, it doesn’t.  Your vitals are checked around the clock.  They wake you up at the crack of dawn to weigh you, and several times each night to draw blood.  I was even taken for X rays several times a night.  And then the cranky old man came out in me.  The nurse came in one day to mess with me and I just told her no.  In a sweet voice, she simply asked when would be a better time.  I had no idea you could tell those people no.  I was expecting the orderlies to come in and manhandle me!"

Are you treating a client who is preparing for a hospital stay?  If so, could playing this track in your next session benefit your client? 

On this track we have discussed hospital strategies.  Three strategies included on this track are decorating with things from home, requesting what you want, and saying no. 

On the next track we will discuss talking to clients if the illness is not progressing as planned.  This will include a description of the take the opposite track technique.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Driskell, L. D., Starosta, A. J., & Brenner, L. A. (2016). Clinical utility and measurement characteristics of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale for individuals with traumatic brain injury. Rehabilitation Psychology, 61(1), 112–113.

Lambert, S. D., Pallant, J. F., Boyes, A. W., King, M. T., Britton, B., & Girgis, A. (2013). A Rasch analysis of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) among cancer survivors. Psychological Assessment, 25(2), 379–390.

Stanton, A. L., Wiley, J. F., Krull, J. L., Crespi, C. M., & Weihs, K. L. (2018). Cancer-related coping processes as predictors of depressive symptoms, trajectories, and episodes. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 86(10), 820–830.

Online Continuing Education QUESTION 12
What are three hospital strategies? To select and enter your answer go to CE Test.

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