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Thread: "Improving Counseling and Communication Skills: Caring for People with Disabilities"

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  1. #1

    "Improving Counseling and Communication Skills: Caring for People with Disabilities"

    I am one of 12 individuals who have been invited to talk with first year med-students to give them a better understanding of the healthcare issues presented by my disability.

    The learning objectives are:

    • To increase students' understanding of disabilities and how people cope with them in shaping a satisfying life
    • To recognize and address architectural, communication, attitudinal and economic policy barriers to quality health care in order to make needed accommodations related to the Americans with Disabilities Act
    • To discuss some of the health, wellness and care issues of people with physical and developmental disabilities
    • To describe ways in which medical/healthcareproviders can facilitate (or hinder) quality care for patients with disabilities.



    What are some important issues I should discuss with these future doctors?

  2. #2
    Senior Member TomRL's Avatar
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    One thing that strikes me is new doctors forget we are real people with families and jobs. Sometimes we need alternatives to problems so we can continue to function in society.
    Tom

    "Blessed are the pessimists, for they hath made backups." Exasperated 20:12

  3. #3
    Maybe...suggest that the person with a disability (or/and their families) MAY know more than they/themselves (the doctors) do about the given disability. NEVER talk down to anyone because you think they know "little" about their disability/situation. MOST of us know "A GREAT DEAL" about it. DOCTORS...DON'T ALWAYS ASSUME YOU ARE "THE SMARTEST OR MOST LEARNED" PERSON IN THE ROOM...YOU MAY NOT BE.
    "What has happened, has happened; What I am going through, I shall rise above; And what will come, I will meet with courage"~Hazrat Inayat Kahn

  4. #4
    Jim, this is easy. Get a manual wheelchair, and simply assign each student to use it for 24 hours straight while they go about their daily activities. Tell them no cheating...no using their legs to transfer from chair to commode, no standing to reach something. Make sure they include a trip to the grocery store and have to stop for gas. They'll learn more in that 24 hours than an entire semester of lectures.

    Several very good OT and PT's I know did this and said it was a real eye-opener.

    If you actually do this I'd love to know how it turns out.

  5. #5
    Point out the inaccessibility of Dr.s offices that typically have tiny examining rooms and no high-low examining tables that wheelchair users can transfer on to.
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  6. #6
    I would have them visit this community forum. Spending some time in Life, Care, and Pain, should be an eye-opener for these young docs.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCIfor55yrs. View Post
    Point out the inaccessibility of Dr.s offices that typically have tiny examining rooms and no high-low examining tables that wheelchair users can transfer on to.
    x100!
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    I am one of 12 individuals who have been invited to talk with first year med-students to give them a better understanding of the healthcare issues presented by my disability.

    The learning objectives are:

    • To increase students' understanding of disabilities and how people cope with them in shaping a satisfying life
    • To recognize and address architectural, communication, attitudinal and economic policy barriers to quality health care in order to make needed accommodations related to the Americans with Disabilities Act
    • To discuss some of the health, wellness and care issues of people with physical and developmental disabilities
    • To describe ways in which medical/healthcareproviders can facilitate (or hinder) quality care for patients with disabilities.



    What are some important issues I should discuss with these future doctors?
    The importance of an multi/inter-diciplinary approach -
    this is critical to ensuring that health needs are appropriately met .
    Impact on health and well-being can be dependent on one's other care needs, at times even guiding how treatment should be approached, so understanding health needs must go beyond just a particular medical condition or diagnosis. Patients with disabilities may have multiple doctors and specialists, so communication and sharing of information/medical records is critical. Knowing who is involved in the patients care, from medical providers to personal assistants, is important to designing a treatment plan, and ensuring continuity of care and implementation.

    Asking the right questions -
    Doctors can be hesitant to ask certain questions, or even neglect to ask them due to preconceived notions about disability or simple discomfort - eg. sexual activity/behavior, questions about personal care, etc. Questions about one's home and social environment are also important.
    Some medical schools have disabled patient educators role play with students to conduct intake and interview patients. This helps expose students early and allows them to confront some of their prejudices and engage with a patient with a disability - can help address, physical, personality, and mental barriers. Students learn how to interact and empathize appropriately and accordingly (per disability or health condition), or at least begin that process.
    *I did this, with interviews being video taped and a brief Q&A afterwards to address issues that came up (for example, students being uncomfortable or looking bewildered when shaking my hand to awkward questioning re sex). Maybe you can ask if the students you're speaking to have done this and what their experience was.

    Communication is a two way street. Its important for patients to give their doctors as much information as possible, but sometimes patients may not know what info to provide, unsure about what might be going on, and/or looking toward the doctor to give them direction. Disability can make a person much more attuned to their needs, but it can be complicated and demanding, with health issues and symptoms in some disabilities being difficult to dicern (eg. in sci, where symptoms are often confounded *think of examples to discuss*). Doctors can help facilitate communication by listening, asking questions... and just basically practicing a good bedside manner.
    Last edited by chick; 10-05-2011 at 12:41 AM.

  9. #9
    Tell them not to give placards out to any random idiot and show them why. Maybe show that video even though it is in French. I will look for the link unless someone else has it handy.
    If you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.


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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    What are some important issues I should discuss with these future doctors?
    Euthanasia is every bit a doctor's duty as the rest of their repertoire.

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