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October 2022

Can Nurse. 1992 Aug; 88(7): 45-7.

[Patients and solicitude]

Lettre L.

Patients are not only passive and vulnerable beings who need to be cared for. They are also autonomous, active and capable of caring for others as well as for themselves. In this study, the author has completed lengthy interviews with five women in order to identify different types of caring. Complicity-based caring is characterized by verbal and nonverbal behavior of patients who are sharing a common experience. This type of caring can be encouraged by a third-party who brings patients together with similar experiences. Action-oriented caring consists of intervening for other patients as an antidote for one's own fear, panic and anguish. Solidarity-based caring corresponds with assisting fellow patients in finding and maintaining their own identity, pride and dignity. Co-operative caring can be observed in group-type settings such as the behavior observed during support groups or vegetarian cooking classes for cancer patients. Self-centred caring refers to the various forms of concern one has for one's self. The experience of suffering can determine how caring is expressed. Concern can force individuals to examine their way of acting and interacting more carefully. Conscious choices are made to avoid empty and exhausting relationships and encourage the growth of positive relationships. Paradoxically, this change in perspective brings about an open mind and heart. It is at this time that caring for healthy individuals appears. Unfortunately, there is very little distinction between patients and healthy individuals, but rather sensitive relationships between individuals facing difficult life challenges.

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