Healthcare Providers, People, and HCV

I may have addressed some or all of the issues in this piece in earlier writing but I wanted to talk specifically about how healthcare professionals perceive hep c and people living with or at risk for HCV.

No terrible indictments just plain language and realities based on my own experience and the experiences of others I have listened to over the years.

In my view we have a problem Houston.

No, the rocket is not crashing and may even be gaining some altitude but the momentum needs a nudge at the very least when it comes to understanding about hep c by healthcare providers in general.

Most of the healthcare providers who’s work is in infectious disease or hepatology certainly have a good grasp on the science of hep c. Some are better than others in the knowledge area but this is not surprising, and the same can be said about plumbers or mechanics or any field.

The area I want to focus on is their understanding about people.

Yes, people like you and me, whether we have been diagnosed with hep c or have someone close who has.

I hear weekly about how the doctor didn’t explain anything or rushed over things so quickly and using medical terms like everyone surely knows what they mean, etc.

Worse than that I hear that people’s questions are left unanswered and they are left feeling like the doctor or nurse doesn’t care.

Without a doubt some of us are better at connecting with others and have so-called “people skills”.
Sadly too often, people tell me that they feel left out of their care.

Don’t get me wrong here; I know that doctors and nurses are very busy nowadays because we are seeing more people diagnosed thanks to some improvements in awareness about hep c.

Some of us in community work try to fill this gap with places like this and the helpline I work with called Help-4-Hep. It is something the community has done for several years in forums and groups on social media platforms.

It has been invaluable for thousands of people who want to understand about their status with hep c, given that their care providers have not been able or willing to explain about test results, emotional issues, next steps, and lots more.

What I believe we need is to see better funding and support for the existing services and more buy in by healthcare providers in their support for what we do from and by community. Help-4-Hep, Health Union, and other organization’s I work with like PHCN and AHC have done a great job of bringing people from community into the mix in meaningful numbers as both counsellors, board members, advisors and writers.

It seems to me that the more enhanced these efforts are, we will see the kinds of outcomes that people really do deserve when faced with a serious illness, any serious illness regardless what name it has.

Educating primary care providers is another key piece we need to see, as this is where people normally have their first point of care.

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