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Before becoming a medical student, I worked as a carer. Within 30 min of my first home visit, the sobering nature of care work had sunk in. I was anxious to get through the day without causing someone to fall in the shower or being responsible for the wrong medication being taken. With experience my anxiety lessened, but I still felt that the best I could hope for was to not make things worse. Indeed, in many cases, there was very little that could be done to improve the individuals’ quality of life. This is part and parcel of caring for individuals who live with chronic and degenerative diseases.
Much to my relief, however, it soon became apparent that there was something that could make a difference—a cup of tea. I hadn’t thought about it previously, but much relief can result from making someone a cup of tea—and having a conversation. It may not be a lifesaving treatment, …
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