Facing an unexpected diagnosis?

Unfortunately, health and cognitive related diagnoses do not stop just because we are in the holiday season. Our clients and their families continue to face unexpected and worrisome news even during this supposedly happy time of the year. How can you support a loved one facing an unexpected diagnosis?

At Hurley Elder Care Law, our specialized attorneys, care coordinators and public benefits team work together to try to minimize many of the tasks and worries families are faced with during health-related crisis especially related to legal, financial and care decisions.

An unexpected diagnosis can be overwhelming

An unexpected diagnosis of a chronic illness can certainly be surprising and scary. The American Psychological Association (APA) acknowledges that receiving this news can conjure up a mix of emotions such as guilt and shame. Grief is also common, and people can also experience the stages of grief including denial, bargaining, anger and sadness.

In addition, distress is also common following a chronic disease diagnosis. The APA says, “evidence shows people who are experiencing a number of stressful life events before diagnosis, and those with a history of depression, may be at risk of psychological distress when they have a chronic disease diagnosis.” It may be important to seek mental health services to help deal with these emotions.

Finding support

Building a strong support network can be very helpful. It is ok to let go of some of your extra responsibilities as you or a loved one is facing an unexpected diagnosis. Dividing up tasks and accepting help from those who are volunteering their time or resources can go a long way. Also, reaching out for spiritual guidance can be comforting to many people.

Educate yourself and your family

Another suggestion for dealing with a new diagnosis is education. Researching and learning about networks and caregiver/support groups can help you create a plan of action. Finding the best healthcare professionals in your area will also assist with your peace of mind and give you an idea of what to expect from the diagnosis. We always advise our client families to write down their questions to help them communicate with care providers.

Another important step after a diagnosis is to explore insurance, cost of care, and public benefit options that might be available. Our staff at Hurley Elder Care Law can help you through this process. We often say, “the sooner you plan, the more options you will have”. This is not a time to bury your head in the sand; it is a time to seek help and support. Call our experienced intake specialists at 404-843-0121 to discuss your situation.


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