Archive for January 2020

Abridge: Never Miss Your Doctor’s Feedback Again

Posted on Jan 07, 2020

The image featured is used from the official website of Abridge. 

Even for those in relatively good health, doctor’s visits can still be nerve-wracking. “White coat syndrome” — appointment-induced anxiety — has been shown to spike a patient’s blood pressure far above what would be considered an accurate reading. Compound these jitters with receiving life-changing feedback and this can make properly digesting a doctor’s explanations and recommendations quite a feat. Fortunately, one mobile device application is taking the stress out of taking accurate notes — Abridge.

How Does it Work?

Abridge is a mobile device application available for free for iOS and Android operating systems. During a doctor’s appointment, a patient, caregiver, or anyone accompanying the patient can open the application and begin recording the doctor’s feedback and answers. This application wouldn’t be very groundbreaking if it were just another audio recording, though. To best serve patients and those caring for them, Abridge also automatically transcribes the conversation, accurately capturing details specific to the healthcare field. Standard transcription services often mistranscribe these anatomical, medicinal, and disease-based terms. Once the appointment is over, the app user only needs to tap the same button they used to start recording, and the program begins to transcribe the conversation automatically. If the app-user so chooses, they can enter additional appointment details and email the discussion and/or transcription anywhere they like directly from the application.

Why Use Abridge?

Even if we’re naturally scatterbrained individuals, when a medical professional is giving us feedback concerning our condition, we strive to be all ears. Despite some of our best efforts, many of us may mishear information or focus on specific details over others. This mishearing may result in missing suggested recommendations, feedback on conditions, or undue anxiety because of miscommunication.

The Importance of Accurate Notes

Sometimes in life, our minds have a funny way of allowing us to “mishear” what is plainly said. Anxiety can cause us to focus on negative feedback disproportionately. Denial can cause us to miss specific details. A patient with their loved one can sit in on the same doctor’s visit, and both claim they heard a report opposite to that of the other person. An accurately transcribed recording of the doctor’s feedback can be immensely helpful for those in emotionally charged medical situations.

Easy Coordination of Care

Most of us who end up needing medical treatment will likely not receive this care from one source or a single individual. A doctor may diagnose an ailment and prescribe therapy or medicine. The visit will need to be covered by a health insurance provider. A prescription will need to be filled by a pharmacy. A nurse may require specific care instructions. If the patient is experiencing dementia, the amount of information a caregiver needs to coordinate alone can be a significant source of anxiety. Proper recording and transcription of doctor and nurse feedback can help caregivers arrange the type of care a beloved patient may need.

If you would like to learn more about Abridge and download the totally free application on your mobile device, proceed to to sign up today.

Cura HPC Hospice & Palliative Care is proud to serve the Tulsa, Oklahoma area.

Processing Grief Through Journaling (+ A Bonus Tip)

Posted on Jan 07, 2020

Several different emotions emerge in the wake of a loved one's passing. Numbness. Sadness. Emptiness. Pain. Regret. Nostalgia. Fear. Anxiety. There are too many to list, let alone process. These feelings can seem insurmountable. There are, however, some straightforward ways to begin to process feelings of grief. One such technique is the practice of journaling.

"Why would I want to journal my pain?"

If you've ever heard of the notion of journaling or perhaps dabbled in the process, writing about your pain may seem like the last thing you want to do. However, there are many incredible benefits to journaling about your feelings when in grief.

Active Processing of Emotions Into Words

The emotions associated with grief often feel incredibly raw. In many instances, this is because they are — completely unrefined, unprocessed, like wheat not ready for consumption. However, as you sit and consider how to begin to put your thoughts and emotions into words, this act helps to process your feelings. Like wheat in the mill is crushed to make flour, passing your feelings through the prefrontal cortex of the brain to label them and transform them into words can help defang these feelings for heightened processing. One brain imaging study even found that when specific labels are attached to negative emotions, this decreased the activity for these painful concepts in the amygdala — the section of the brain responsible for the perception of emotions.

"Sometimes, the only way around suffering is to go straight through it." - Anik Sarkar

Feeling Heard Without "Inconveniencing" Anyone

If you're like many people in grief, you may feel like expressing your pain makes you a "Debbie Downer" — inconveniencing others by bumming them out. Even though you likely have people close to you who are willing to lend an ear or shoulder as well as grief counselors, you may still feel odd about expressing your heartfelt pain to another. During these times, pouring out your emotions to a journal can be immensely therapeutic.

Think of a journal as the least judgemental friend. Your journal will never tell you to "snap out of it" or give you cues that they're tired of hearing all about your internal turmoil. They will stick by you for as long as you need to pour out your heart, to process your emotions, and to capture your tears. Even if you were to discard a journal entry immediately upon writing it, for the moments spent crafting every word, you were heard — by the pen, by the pages, by every line, by your fingers, and perhaps most importantly, by you. For this reason, journaling can begin to feel like a gift of relief you give yourself — permission to be vulnerable and to process your innermost thoughts and emotions.

Journaling Can Help Capture Memories

When prepping friends and family to interact with a grieving loved one, one of the most commonly asked questions is whether or not to mention the departed. The fear is that bringing up cherished memories will only reopen emotional wounds. As someone grieving, you likely understand that there's nothing you'd rather relive than the beautiful moments you spent with that one who has died. Journaling gives you a chance to not only relive these moments but also to capture them on pages for safekeeping.

When journaling, feel free to recall the details of a great day you shared with this loved one. Recollect every detail you can, the sights, sounds, sensations, smells, actions, and feelings — putting them into words on the page. Give these moments a chance at a second life in a way you can go back through later — just like you would with a photo album or older home movies. Not only is the act of reliving these moments immensely enjoyable, but putting them into words can help you process associated grief in the ways we discussed earlier in this piece.

What Journaling Can Look Like

There's no wrong way to journal.

Perhaps the only wrong way to journal is to not journal at all. Whether you only write a phrase or fill pages with emotions and memories, you're in charge of how to start journaling any time.

Typing vs. Handwriting

If they are faster typists, some individuals choose to type their journal entries for the speed of getting ideas out. They may also like being able to carefully organize journal files and use search functions for recalling certain days, topics, or concepts. For the majority of people, they prefer the cathartic act of putting pen to paper. Something about thinking carefully about each word that will be written without the escape of a backspace key can be very appealing. Either method is up to your preference.

Journaling Using Prompts

There will be times when you want to write in your journal, but feel stuck. For these occasions, there are many grief-related journaling prompts that can help. Some may journal by writing to their departed loved one in letter form. Some jumping-off sentences can include, "I remember the time...", "That time you made me laugh...", and "The greatest thing you taught me was..." One particularly useful prompt some recommend is writing the narrative of your loss, but in the third-person — from the perspective of a fly on the wall, so to speak. As you write this story, leaning into an outsider's perspective, list recommendations and consolations you would give yourself if you were someone else looking in.

Free Journaling

Sometimes, you won't want to be given a "homework assignment" in your journaling practice. These instances are great opportunities to just let feelings spill onto the page. If you're totally stuck and don't know what to write about, write about that and how that makes you feel. Follow that emotion wherever it goes. Don't feel the need to use correct spelling, grammar, or punctuation. Just use the page as a release valve and follow the internal narrative wherever it takes you.

Bonus: Beginning to Heal With a Gratitude Journal

At times, having an assignment can significantly affect our frame of mind. One such task is by writing a handful of things you are grateful for that day. Try to keep it fresh — thinking of a new item or concept to list every day. As you run out of the main items, such as health, family, employment, food, and housing, you will have to search deeper for things you appreciate. These can be as immense as closing a massive deal at work or seemingly small as someone opening the door for you. As you continue your gratitude journaling assignment, you will subconsciously start keeping an eye out for new instances or concepts to add to your gratitude journal. Over time, this practice will make you more conscious of the pleasantries of your daily life.

For additional help navigating the grieving process, the friendly professionals from CURA HPC Hospice & Palliative Care in Tulsa, Oklahoma, can help.