The dynamic of the family with one of its members seriously ill
Psychiatrist-Psychotherapist, Director-Psychiatric Clinic of Sotiria Hospital
In recent years the deeper understanding of the role of family, both in times of health and disease, helped many experts to believe that the diagnosis of a chronical sickness, life-threatening indicates a family oriented approach of the patient.
In a family system, any event that significantly affects a member for example the sudden emergence of a serious illness, this affects the whole family system. The reaction of the family affects the patient member.
Using the term "dynamic" of the family we mean the way in which the individual and the family interact and are interdependent.
A serious disease like cancer is an experience shared by all members of the family.
That is proven by many scientific studies indicating a high degree of similarity between patients and their families in terms of psychological health, adjustment to illness, functionality and even physical symptoms.
The family system in order to maintain the homeostasis and ensure the best possible care for the patient is willing to make new roles and abandonee old family roles of interaction.
In recent years there was placed more emphasis on physical, emotional and mental stress of the patient's family members.
During a serious and possibly lethal disease, the needs of the family change. For that reason, family needs adequate and effective communication in order to accept the "serious diagnosis".
Open communication between the members of the family is of great importance. As the disease progress in time, open communication helps family consistency, roles functioning and the absence of opposition.
Should be noted the need to educate doctors, and especially the youngest, in communication with the family and patient as well as in recognition of family dynamics, Studies show that when a doctor is emotionally and time available to the patient and his family, and is in constant contact with them, this positively affects the ability of both the patient and the family in cancer treatment and after-treatment difficulties but also enhances mental durability of all members. Encephalos 2010, 47(2):83-89.
Key words: Cancer, family.