Overcoming Barriers to Caring for People with AIDS
Any fears, conflicts, and concerns you have about AIDS can affect the care you give your patients. To address these conflicts and concerns, look to your facility’s in-house programs. These programs are there to help learn facts and overcome fears. Community resources are also available to help you, your family, and your friends learn more about HIV and AIDS.
Remember: Knowing the facts, resolving concerns, and getting support are the best ways to overcome any barriers you have to caring for people with AIDS.
AIDS support groups are places to share experiences and concerns. They provide opportunities for grieving and information on how to cope with the loss of patients. Discussions in these groups are strictly confidential.
In-service programs can provide you with updates on medical advances. Some are offered as continuing education courses. Others are sponsered by AIDS coordinators, employee assistance staffs, or counseling facilities.
Stress reduction workshops, while they may not focus on caring for people with AIDS, can help you cope with stress. They often teach relaxation techniques such as visualization (picturing yourself in a peaceful setting).
Resources in Your Community
The national STD and AIDS Hotline (800-458-5231) provides written information about AIDS. The hotline can also answer questions about counseling and has a referral network. All calls are taken anonymously.
Local health agencies offer information and referrals and are good resources for family and friends. Your public library, hospital library, and state department of public health are other excellent sources.