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Topics About 'False Hope'.

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  1. jeastridge

    3 Ways Nurses Dispense Rx: HOPE

    Gathering my thoughts and hospice computer, I climbed the outdoor steps to the second-floor apartment. The gloom in the small room was palpable as I entered. Crowded together on the couch sat a group of relatives and sitting close by in a worn recliner was the patient, a man in his late 60’s, jaundiced skin betraying his terminal diagnosis of advanced pancreatic cancer. On the arm of his chair, arm circled protectively around the top sat what appeared to be a daughter. After the introductions and greetings, we began to talk about what hospice is and does and how our services might be of help during this time. The patient waved his hand weakly to indicate his desire to speak, “This is it, isn’t it? I don’t have any more hope.” It seemed almost as if everyone took a collective breath, held it and turned to me, waiting for some word that would help them through this impossibly difficult moment. What would you say at this point? As professional nurses, we are present to help people wherever they are on their journey. From pediatrics to geriatrics and everywhere in between, we work to help people recover, rehabilitate, or compensate. Sometimes, we find ourselves in situations such as the one describe above which fits the traditional definition of “hopeless,” and yet, we are there to help inspire some degree of hope, however small. What is Hope? The stuff of life... As long as we have some hope, we can keep pushing forward. A thought process... Researcher Brene Brown says, “I was shocked to discover that hope is not an emotion; it's a way of thinking or a cognitive process. Emotions play a supporting role, but hope is really a thought process…” (http://www.bhevolution.org/public/cultivating_hope.page) A tool to face the day... Sometimes we hear ourselves or our colleagues referring to a reluctance to encourage “false hope,” or the possibility of inspiring unrealistic expectations in our patients. Given the definition above, maybe false hope is not such a concern since hope might be more about giving those in our care the tools they need to face the day, so they can manage to wring out a bit of joy even in the midst of terrible trials. Hope fills the balloon of life... We talk about hope all the time: I hope it doesn’t rain; I hope I don’t spill spaghetti on my white blouse; I hope he passes his test; I hope he gets better; I hope I will be forgiven. It is the same word, but holds vastly different meanings! Hope is hard to pin down—it fills the balloon of life and floats, held by a string of desire, tightly wound around our fist of determination and strong will. We won’t let go, for as long as there is hope, there is life. So what is our role as nurses in inspiring hope? Set goals. While it is impossible to foresee the future, with our knowledge base, we can help our patients set goals they have the ability to meet. We can help them set goals for today, e.g. “Let’s focus on getting bathed and dressed and sit in the bedside chair for 20 minutes. Does that sound good to you?” Meeting goals, even small ones, helps us to feel a sense of achievement and success which gives us hope for reaching other, more long-term goals. Focus. When life feels out of control, our patients may need help in focusing their goals and hopes on a more short term accomplishment. After a major stroke, or some other serious health set back, people have a hard time with looking too far ahead. We can help them reframe their thinking and thus give them true hope. By listening carefully and asking questions, we can help guide them to their own goals, zeroing in on what matters most. Reframe. When we get down to the nuts and bolts of life, time on earth is always rather limited. But when our patients and their families face a hospice nurse at the door, the limitations seem rather glaring and hope appears to take its bright light over into a corner where it is hard to reach. By helping our patients reframe their thinking to goals that are achievable in this new setting, we can help them have hope. For example, finding out what really matters to them in terms of pain management, family time, and closure can help leave them with a measure of hope. What to say? As I faced the family, I breathed in too, silently praying for inspiration and desperately asking for wisdom. “This is pretty hard, isn’t it? What is the hardest part for you?” I asked. He went on to talk about his fears of being a burden and of having pain that would be out of control. Once I understood his greatest concerns, I was able to help him and the family make plans for caring for him and was also able to describe some of our pain control plans. As we spoke, I could feel the gentle presence of hope re-enter the room. While the hope of eradicating his pancreatic cancer through treatment appeared to no longer be an option, there were other parts of his story that opened themselves up to hope and plans. Make each day as good as it can be... As I gathered my things two hours later, I touched the patient’s hand and spoke to him and his family, “None of us knows what tomorrow holds. But we will do our very best to care for you and to help make each day as good a day as it can be.”
  2. I have an hour commute to work and listen to the same morning radio show during my drive. The show hosts passionately advertise a miracle weight loss pill that also improves focus, digestion, athletic performance, sleep and joint pain. The ingredients are time tested and there is always a “blow out” sale that is being extended for customer appreciation. The testimonials are impressive but my nursing background tells me “it’s just too good to be true”. And, I really want it to be true. What are Some Common Claims? Health fraud or scams are products that claim to prevent, treat or cure disease and health conditions, but have not been proven safe or effective. Fraudulent products may include pills, devices, food and even cosmetics. Common claims are often related to: Weight loss Sexual performance Memory loss Cancer Diabetes Heart Disease Arthritis Alzheimer’s Disease Anti-aging “Too Good to Be True” is Nothing New We have all seen slick ads for miracle treatments and cures. Unfortunately, products that are too good to be true don’t include “Beware: Health Fraud” on their labels. Health fraud and scams have been around for hundreds of years. Here are just a few examples of bizarre American health scams historically: Banbar tonic was sold in the 1920’s as an alternative to insulin in treating diabetes. Many people stopped taking insulin in favor of the tonic. This decision proved fatal for some since the tonic was ineffective for lowering blood sugar. Harold Hoxley, a miner, sold useless tonics and creams that were guaranteed to cure cancer from the 20’s to 60’s. He scammed customers out of 50 million dollars selling products through clinics and mail-order. In 1958, thin cigarettes advertised miraculous weight loss results were possible by simply … smoking. That’s right. The cigarette company advertised daily smoking for 8 weeks could result in a 20 lb weight loss. Diet goggles were marketed in the 1970's and claimed to use “secret European color technology” to curb appetite and reduce hunger pangs. Most of the glasses were eventually destroyed by the FDA. Health scams of modern day have the benefit of deceptive high-tech marketing that reaches a large number of consumers. Just think about it, scammers are able to promote through radio, newspapers, magazines, TV infomercials, retail stores, social media sites, pop up ads and spam. Making Money on False Hope Health frauds promise quick and easy cures for a variety of problems. They often target older adults and most U.S victims are over 65. Scammers also target people who are overweight, have serious conditions like cancer, or have conditions without a cure. These may include: Multiple sclerosis Diabetes Alzheimer’s disease HIV/AIDS Arthritis People buy these products in the hope of improving their health situation. Instead, they are cheated out of money, their time and sometimes even their health. Fraudulent products can have dangerous interactions with other prescribed medications. With hope hinged on a miracle cure, some will delay getting a proper diagnosis or treatment from a health care professional. Furthermore, health scams are usually expensive and rarely covered by health insurance. It May Be A Rip-Off If… The Food and Drug Administration offers tips to help consumers identify health rip-offs. According to the FDA, it may be a rip-off if ... One product does it all In October 2012, a New York firm marketed dietary products claiming to treat or cure senile dementia, brain atrophy, atherosclerosis, kidney disease, gangrene, depression and the list goes on. At the FDA’s request, federal marshals seized the fraudulent products. Personal testimonies replace scientific evidence When scientific evidence is lacking, it is easy to make-up glowing personal testimonies, such as “It cured my arthritis”, “My tumor was gone!”. A quick fix is promised Beware of quick treatments such as, “Lose 20 lbs in 2 weeks” or “Teeth will be 3 shades lighter after one use”. It is “all natural” Fraudsters use the term “all natural” to sell the safety of a product. However, the FDA has found some products promoting “all natural” actually contain hidden and dangerously high doses of prescription drug ingredients or untested active artificial ingredients. It is a miracle cure If a miracle cure was actually found for a physical condition or disease, mass media would widely report the finding and health professionals would be prescribing the treatment. Red flags wave with claims such as “scientific breakthrough,'' “secret ingredient” and “new discovery”. Is a conspiracy theory Claims about a secret plan and powerful groups are made by fraudsters to distract you from common sense questions you may have about the proclaimed miracle cure. Claims such as “This cure is what pharmaceutical companies and the government don’t want you to know about” are always untrue and not backed by scientific evidence. Fraudulent health products can be tempting and difficult to recognize. So, what is the best course of action when red flags are raised? It is always a good idea to ask a healthcare provider about the product before spending valuable time and money. Beware of Smarmy Sellers Smarmy insincere sellers with pressure sales tactics is an obvious sign of fraud. A person should check with their primary provider when considering travel to a clinic away from home. While some clinics offer legitimate and effective treatments, others: Prescribe untested, unapproved, ineffective and potentially dangerous cures The healthcare provider and/or employees may not be licensed or have appropriate credentials. It is important to always research with state and local health authorities to see if a facility is appropriate for any planned treatment or procedure away from home. Have you, or someone you know, been pulled in by a product that is “too good to be true”? Share your story. Additional Resources FDA Health Fraud Scams Consumer Information Federal Trade Commission- Miracle Health Claims
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