'Drift bottle' idea helps regain joy

A kind of "drift bottle" is helping heal patients emotionally and physically at Jading Hospital. 

A kind of “drift bottle” is helping heal patients emotionally and physically at Jading Hospital.

Patients put down their feelings, confusions and encouragement on pieces of paper, and pass them on for other people to read. In this way they regain joy and confidence.

The practice was first started in the respiratory medicine department. Medical social workers found that some patients with chronic pulmonary disease experienced negative emotions, which prevented them from better recovery.

Since last October, they have held the drift bottle activity three times, involving 32 patients and their family members.

Words written down will help them get rid of anxiety and depression as well as promote communication between patients, said Shi Qiuyun, a medical social worker at the hospital.

“Chinese people tend to hide their feelings, so words written work better than words spoken,” Shi added.

The outlet of emotion has sparked effective interaction. A senior patient treated here expressed his gratitude to his wife, who had been taking care of him since he was sick. She was greatly moved.

Apart from the communication between patients and family members, exchanges between patients and doctors have also improved, with patients addressing their concerns and questions about treatment.

The medical social workers would also do extra work to comfort and encourage patients, so they would better comply with the treatment.

“What we offer is the service with humanistic care for the patients and we hope to be a bridge for a benign doctor-patient relationship,” said Yang Xiaoxia, deputy director of the hospital’s social work department.


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