Chronic illness takes a heavy toll upon the lives of your patients. As a healthcare provider, your clinic bears the significant responsibility of easing your patients struggle as best you can. Even if an illness isn’t permanent, managing day-to-day activities through the lens of sickness can be difficult, sometimes unbearably so. These are a few words of advice that you can give your struggling patients, so that they can live their lives as best as possible in between visits to the clinic:

Have Them Join a Support Group

Support groups aren’t a thing to be ashamed of. Many people fear a stigma associated with them, but really, they’re just there to help people make the most out of a bad hand they’ve been dealt in life. Having an illness or seeking the support of a support group is not indicative of weakness or defeat, and your patient needs to understand that. Getting better is a lengthy process, and they need to be using all the resources they have available. There are many support groups for specific things over the country; a search for a local group would benefit your patient greatly.

Have Them Seek Therapy

Just as physical therapy aids in the process of repairing the body, psychological therapy aids in the process of mending a wounded spirit. Depression, anxiety, stress– these have been proven to have a physically deteriorating effect, in addition to a harmful effect on one’s sense of self-worth and well-being. Physical remedies, such as taking prescribed pills at the recommended dosage, regulated exercise, and eating well have a positive effect on one’s mental state. The reverse is also true. Having a hopeful state of mind actually helps the body repair itself more effectively. Mind over matter, as they say.

Keep Your Patient In the Know

Nobody likes being left in the dark. Uncertainty brings its own toxic blend of stress and anxiety, which obviously isn’t very helpful for keeping your patient healthy. Be tactful, but be honest. Don’t treat your patient like they’re a child. It can be difficult to mistake a patronizing approach for sympathy. There are better ways to placate your patient. Keep your patient updated with the latest treatment options, and whether or not any of them pose any significant risks. Have them keep you updated, too, so that you are aware of any new developments and can deal with them ahead of time. Don’t let the next doctor’s visit be taken up by a litany of new problems. As they fill you in, be sure to return the favor and let them know exactly what to expect from their treatment. If a procedure is going to take six months, don’t sweeten the pot artificially by fudging the truth. Honesty may be a bitter thing sometimes, but hearing that a treatment is going to take longer than expected is an even more difficult pill to swallow.