One way to alleviate anxiety is to call a meeting with family and trusted friends to discuss the illness and its prognosis, and to plan a strategy about upcoming issues. The meeting invitation list should include everyone the patient wants to inform. Duties can be divided up, and suggestions for assistance can be discussed and agreed upon.
Worry can often be reduced by introducing certainty. You can create a degree of certainty by developing a plan for care. The meeting should be thought of not in terms of giving up or surrendering, but in terms of planning and creating a way to cover all bases. In preparation for the meeting, one suggestion is to choose a facilitator—other than the patient—who can run the meeting. When everyone has assembled, ask them for their attention, turn off all cell phones, and make sure everyone can stay until the end. It is recommended that a large flip chart be made available so the facilitator can write down everything that is decided.
In the discussion, include details of the treatment the patient is undergoing, how the patient feels about it, and what the patient wants to do. It is important to be proactive and to ask and answer questions. Topics such as medical information, finances, pet care, and hospitalization or hospice choices can be covered. Chances are the meeting will become emotional, but the goal is to create a community of caring without overburdening anyone who is there to participate. This is also an excellent way to allow people to serve the patient in a way that is truly mutually beneficial.