An article by Mausumi Bhansali, CanSupport counsellor.
Amidst the present pandemic situation there are many hurdles that we are facing. The view of empty roads, khaki dress and police siren have become a common sight. It seems that everywhere there is an air of sadness, fear, worry, and uncertainty.
Being a palliative care professional, we have seen an increase in anxiety levels of our patients and caregivers. Thus, our role as a counsellor becomes very important to reduce their dilemmas on how to handle such situation.
To maintain social distancing and avoid crowding, only doctor and the nurse visit patients, since most of our patients have small houses. While on our visit we wear proper PPE gear for our own safety as well as the safety of our patients.
During this time, as a counsellor we are talking to our patients and their caregivers. Listening to their problems and helping them to solve their problems. Yet, psycho social issues can sometimes need physical presence and in such situation, we also visit the patient.
While calling, we are educating and informing our patients and caregivers about covid pandemic, importance of wearing mask and how to keep cleanliness as the patients are immune- suppressant.
In some cases, they may need ration support, medicine or PPE as most of them are very poor. Then in such cases, we try to arrange ration, medicine and PPE equipment by coordinating with office, so that they get it on time.
While it is a challenge to counsel patients over the phone. This situation has also helped us in upskilling ourselves in tele counselling. In the end, what matters is to reach out to our patients and their caregiver and resolve their psycho-social issues so that they are at peace.