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C-TAC Chief Medical Officer Brad Stuart, MD, has co-authored an article that explores the clinician’s role in the healing journey when caring for a person facing life-limiting illness. The article, “Finding Hope and Healing When Cure Is Not Possible,” was recently published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Through the lens of pediatric brain cancer, Stuart et al. explore the evolution of hope for patients and their families while they navigate incurable illness and the potential for clinicians to aid in the healing process. Hope, the authors explained, endures in spite of the loss of prospects for cure or recovery.
The authors cite a leading researcher on parental hope in childhood cancer, who explained that hope for cure changes into feelings that are more oriented to pain relief, the longing for home and for survival in a spiritual sense.
“Hope’s evolution supports the healing journey, and clinicians can assist patients and parents through it,” Stuart et al. wrote.
In the article, the authors note that Dr. Stuart feared delivering bad news to patients and parents just after starting clinical practice. He practiced listening over time, and came to understand that being more restrained and self-aware helped patients and families build confidence in their ability to cope.
The authors note that clinicians can provide support by learning “to sense opportunities in reports of patients’ symptoms, help them reframe those perceptions with gentleness and persistence, develop the courage to accompany people through dark passages, and recognize freedom as an ultimate goal.”
The full article is available here.