“Treating Regret” (NYT, 1-22-20)

Recently the wife of one of our local Lewy body dementia support group members passed away.  The caregiver husband feels a lot of regret, which is understandable and common.  I thought of him (and all caregivers) when I came across this article tonight.   Though the focus of the article is on the regret associated with treating a stroke late in the game, I think much of the article will resonate with all caregivers.

Here’s a short excerpt:

“We often don’t explore the role regret might be playing in the distress many patients and families experience, or acknowledge it when it’s clear that it is contributing to their pain.  Simply naming regret — creating the space for patients to confront and explore this emotion — is an important step, as is reassuring patients or family members that in the vast majority of cases they made the best decision they could with the information they had. Medicine is filled with uncertainty, and even with the benefit of hindsight it’s not always clear how, or if, things could have turned out differently. … Regret is a fundamental aspect of being human. … Perhaps none more important than embracing regret as part of life, and focusing not on what might have been but on what still is.”

The full article is here: