I love the quote above…it is true in life and I find especially in my career. I was heartbroken to hear a PSW talk about her patients with contempt and joking about overweight individuals who were incapable of even moving as though their problems, attitude and demands were unreasonable considering all she faced in a shift.
I know I do not work at a facility anymore. I hated the way patients in the hospital or long term care are treated like something on a to-do list rather than a human being going through what is probably one of the biggests crisis of their life. They are frightened, they are confused and overwhelmed and as a caregiver we are their quality of life. We determine whether they have a day filled with compassion and reasons to smile or feelings of comfort or they face a day of fear, sadness, isolation and their own “worse case scenerio” thoughts.
Yes I know that days at a facility are filled with unbelievable demands, that there are too few caregivers, too many patients and not enough resources. There are policies that make you want to pull your hair out and days that make you cry in your car all the way home. I know there are managers who forget what it’s like to provide care and co workers who spend more time gossiping about each other than giving care…but none of that is the patients fault. None of that takes away from the fact that the person lying in that hospital or LTC bed is a human being. They are scared and in pain and alone and they just want to get well. Patients can feel attitude. They know if you care or if you roll your eyes when they start to cry. They know whether you feel they are a bother or whether you truly want to make them comfortable.
I think the Health Care world has gotten it wrong. We have created best practise policies and drill into nurses and health care staff that the professional “Nurse/Patient professional relationship” should be distant and detached. Yes you must remain professional but we need to start teaching compassion. Start teaching caregivers and CEOs that research shows patients thrive and recover much better when they receive compassion and help that is caring. We would prescribe less drugs and patients would require less medication for nerves and anxiety if patients felt safe and cared for.
We talk a good game with all the hospitals promoting “Patient Centred Care”. It should be Human Being Centered care. No caregiver should walk into a room without stopping for a second to review what this patient is going through….They have lost the use of their body, their life changed in an instant or they are diagnosed with dementia which is stealing their memories one day at a time or have a disease that is slowly attacking their body. They are not in need of just CT scan, a pill and a bed bath…They need empathy, they are in need of a human being to care for them. As a caregiver the more you focus on the patients needs and what they are going through, the more you will realize the blessings of love, miracles and strength of character you are honoured to witness each and every day