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More attention for ICU patients and family

By increasing the focus on understanding patients and their close relatives, the work of medical professionals on ICUs can be improved substantially.

Emotional impact
proefschrift Margo van MolThis is the conclusion made by Margo van Mol, psychologist and ICU nurse at Erasmus MC, in her dissertation  'Balancing Coincident Worlds: the emotional impact of patients' relatives and professionals in the intensive care'.

Van Mol received her on PhD on 21 June at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. She calls for increased awareness among professionals in the field of psychosocial care and communicative skills.

Personalized care
It is never desirable for patients and those close to them to have to stay in the uncertain world of an ICU. According to PhD student Margo van Mol, the negative impact of an ICU can be reduced if patients and their loved ones feel that they are receiving the highest quality personalized care, with respect, dignity, and empathy as the key features. This will have a positive effect on the experiences of patients and their loved ones.

Van Mol says: "A shift to more personalized care means a change in the mindset of professionals. Increased awareness in the field of the psychosocial care of close relatives and communication skills could  be achieved through training programs."
Van Mol presents compassion and empathy as two separate concepts in her dissertation. "Compassion is the ability to see the suffering of others, which feels like their own emotions to the ICU professionals. Empathy is the cognitive understanding and ability to sympathize with the situation by the professionals. In this case, the situation of others (in suffering or care) is supported, without the need for the professionals to experience the suffering themselves." 

Training
Van Mol considers discussions and training in relationship building and communication skills to be essential for professionals to develop an empathetic attitude.

For further information, see the press release.

Date published: 21 June 2017.

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