There is strength in numbers when it comes to your support network – a helping hand or a listening ear goes a long way. Here are a few tips that may help you make the most of your relationships with family, friends and partners.
Family, friends and partners
- Relatives and close friends can provide support with many aspects of disease management, such as cystic fibrosis (CF) treatments, clinic visits, hospitalisations and mental health1,2
- Families can offer daily treatment support, such as preparing medication and encouraging you to complete your treatments, while friends can motivate you to lead a healthy lifestyle and manage social networks during periods of illness1
- Social support can help decrease your treatment burden and can lead to improved mental and physical health2
- It is important to communicate with family and friends about how you perceive their support, particularly around treatment reminders and helpful/unhelpful behaviours1
- If you live on your own and feel isolated, check in with people you know, they are only a phone call or text away!3
- Online CF support groups from your local area can be a great way to connect to other members of the CF community and share your experience4
- Disclosure of CF status can become more important in adolescence and early adulthood, when you are more likely to get involved in a romantic relationship and/or start a new job.5
- Disclosing your CF status can have a positive effect on relationships with family members and close friends5
- When disclosing your CF status to family and friends, do not be shy about educating them. Let them know that precaution is needed when spending time with someone with CF, especially during minor illnesses like a cold
- When your friends and family are more educated on CF, get them involved! Take them to any patient organisation events that you participate in. They can be a pillar of support for you
- If your symptoms are mild, you might feel less need to disclose your CF status compared with individuals who have more severe disease. You are always encouraged to have a dialogue with your CF team about disclosure and the risks/benefits of disclosure in different social contexts5
- Disclosure could have a positive influence on relationships by increasing awareness around CF and reducing misconceptions. Mental health professionals can provide counselling and help you come up with strategies for disclosure5
If you are struggling with any of the aspects discussed above, you can reach out to any member of your CF team and/or to your GP for a listening ear and to seek advice on how to access counselling services in your area.
Barker DH et al. Child Care Health Dev 2012;38:497–504.
Flewelling KD et al. J Cyst Fibros 2019;18:572–576.
Cystic Fibrosis News Today. How I cope with loneliness while living with chronic illness. Available at: https://cysticfibrosisnewstoday.com/columns/how-cope-loneliness-living-with-cystic-fibrosis. Accessed January 2023.
Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Support available. Available at: www.cysticfibrosis.org.uk/the-work-we-do/support-available. Accessed January 2023.
Modi AC et al. BMC Pulm Med 2010;10:46.
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If you have any questions about the content on this site please speak to a member of your CF care team.