Maintaining your psychological wellbeing during a stay in hospital
Part of your treatment may involve a stay in hospital. An inpatient stay in hospital can be challenging at any time in life.
It is common to experience a range of different feelings while in hospital.
You may experience feelings such as vulnerability, fear, worry, anger, sadness, disbelief and loneliness, or you may be find it difficult to feel anything at all. It may be difficult to make sense of how you are feeling and you may find it difficult to process your feelings while still in hospital.
The range and intensity of your feelings is likely to fluctuate during a stay in hospital which is likely to be influenced by treatment related factors.
It’s okay to not feel okay.
Your treatment may last for a long period of time. There may be periods of waiting and uncertainty. It can be physically and emotionally demanding. There are no right or wrong ways to feel. It is common to experience a range of emotions at different points during treatment. You may find some intense feelings pass with time while others stay for longer. Some people describe the process as like an ‘emotional rollercoaster’. It is important to remember that your feelings are likely a response to the situation you find yourself in.
There are many different ways to manage difficult feelings and you do not have
to suffer alone.
Psychological needs in hospital
An inpatient stay in hospital may leave you feeling vulnerable. While in hospital, you will not have the comfort and familiarity of your home, routines and support systems available to you. We all have basic physiological needs and you may find yourself relying on staff you do not know to provide nourishment, support and to help with any care needs you may have.
A sense of safety and security is likely to help you feel more comfortable while away from home. Relationships with healthcare staff that characterised by trust and clear communication can help foster a sense of safety. Being clear with healthcare staff about your needs, expectations and any concerns you have will help them to give you the support you need. We share a common humanity, suffering is a universal part of being human and an experience that healthcare staff will share too.
Connecting with others while in hospital and having access to your social support system may also help you more like yourself.
If you have a planned inpatient stay in hospital, psychological preparation may be helpful. Packing your emotional care kit for hospital may help you feel more prepared for difficult feelings that arise while in hospital. Use the Five Ps of Psychological Health in Hospital to improve your psychological wellbeing during a stay in hospital.
Five Ps of Psychological Health in Hospital
- Understanding your psychological needs in hospital
- Consider your need for social connection and support
Am I okay? Your Psychological Wellbeing Checklist
- Consider the Psychological Circle of Demand during Treatment
- Use strategies that might help manage the demands of treatment
- Practice self-help during treatment
- Use your ‘emotional care kit’
- Use the wellbeing self-evaluation tool to identify whether you need further support
- Find the support you need from others
- Make practical arrangements for any support you need
- Practice self-compassion and look after yourself emotionally
- Show yourself the same compassion you would show a friend or family member
Practice self-help during treatment
Further support and help:
The advice on these pages is designed to help you prepare for the treatment ahead and support you through to recovery.
If you need further advice and support please discuss this with your key worker or healthcare professional.
- Macmillan Cancer Support:
0808 808 00 00
- Maggie’s Cardiff:
029 2240 8024
- Tenovus Cancer Care:
0808 808 1010