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Patient at the Heart of Care

In CancerGuest BloggerHealthMedicalPatientUncategorized |

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On May 25, 2018

While you were reading the title you may have thought hum, this topic is not really attractive and innovative….I understand you and I hope to make you feel comfortable while reading through this blog that it is still hot, inspirational, and challenging.

The old man and his vitamin cure

During my first job about 28 years ago as a Hospital pharmacist in Ghent, I was asked to help in building and supporting the new chemotherapy ward. I had experience in making perfusions with cytostatics, however, had no idea who exactly the person is who would receive them. One day I went to the ward and spoke with the head nurse to understand more about the patients and if I could get in contact with them. She described one particular old men and it intrigued me to meet with him. During the lunch break, I went with my sandwiches to his room and asked if I could sit with him while he received his treatment. Without any expression on his face, he nodded yes and I installed myself next to his bed. The red fluid was dripping into the line and via the needle into his blood. He joked because he was told he received a weekly “vitamins” cure….there my breath stopped for a moment and my intuition told me to get deeper into the state of the person. Who decided to tell him it is just vitamins? Is he capable to understand what is happening? What would it mean if he knows about his disease and the treatment? What could it mean for his future? How would he react if knowing the true story?


Also, what does the nurse know about the treatment? Can she communicate about this with the patient, the family? Has the doctor the communication skills to speak at best about the situation with her/his patient? What about time, cost, rules?
This was of course 28 years ago but it has and is still triggering me to think about the patient. I’m thinking about a number of triangles : doctor-patient-disease / doctor-patient-treatment / patient-life –treatment/ doctor-treatment-pharma….
Today it is almost impossible not to think about the patient at the heart of care or is it?


Domains of patient adherence, patient involvement in clinical trials, patient education etc have evolved and are still evolving and in further blogs, I would be happy to dive into some of these more in detail.


What do you think about the patient at the heart of care? I would be very happy to read your comments and include them into next blogs. I’m sure there are still success formulas or pitfalls I may not be aware of and am happy to learn about.

Last modified: May 25, 2018

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