How are you responding to returning patients
The Invisible Burden
Extract from Clair Dempsey's Photovoice Study
The Power of kindness.
"After an 8-month wait since my last ultra sound results were for some unknown reason unattainable, I finally received another scan. During my last scan I was told my ovaries appeared polycystic."
"After having stage 4 endometriosis excised in 2017, knowing I didn't have an issue with cysts felt like a silver lining. It was a relief to learn that this observation appeared to be a mistake. This time my sonographer engaged with me throughout the scan. She moved the screen towards me and described what she could see in a reassuring and informative way."
"The time spent chasing appointment, conclusions seeking the right treatment and specialist is exhausting. It's difficult to value your own well being when seeking help feels like you're swimming against the tide."
If you are seeing a patient regularly and they do not seem to be improving,
could lack of knowledge be part of the problem?
Are you reluctant to really listen to a patient who you have seen
3 or 4 times for the same complaint?
No one would expecting you to know everything about everything.
They do expect you to admit to your knowledge limit.
Saying that you don't actually know the answer and will endeavor to find a better answer for your patient is more reassuring than than dismissing their concerns. Speaking with colleague or medical friends will help you widen your knowledge base and help more patients. Lack of action on endometriosis symptoms can lead to longer-term more complicated health conditions in the future.
Using the guides and further reading provided here, at the Royal college of General Practioners of Scotland, The Exppect Clinic in Edinburgh and the NICE guidelines and tool kits to help further your ability to help and treat your patients.
Medical knowledge, practices and procedures change, Doctors are described as practicing medicine, as they are expect to continue their learning throughout their career.
If patients do not feel they can voice their concerns or their concerns are not being taken seriously by medical professionals, they stop trying to access services and treatment. Being dismissed regularly can add to the feeling of isolation that comes with endometriosis, increasing the chances of depression and anxiety.
Doctors, male and female, need to be reminded that a bad period is a one-off event, like a headache, and not a way to describe regular menstrual cycles. It is not a diagnosis and cannot be used to explain long term repeated problems with pain, heavy bleeding or bowel issues.
Unexplained pelvic pain needs to be investigated, especially if it is affecting the way in which a person is able to lead their life.
What can you do today
Endo Bonds is asking that all medical staff in your practice take the time to consider patients who have been attending regularly AND/OR for longer than 1 year with complaints relating to their menstrual cycle that are unresolved.
The acknowledgement of a high gender bias in diagnosing patients of female sex would be advantageous to your doctors but also to your practice, its staff and your patients.
Medical and non-medical staff should be included in this as many people find reception staff can often be a barrier to accessing their GP.