Hey there, Careblazers! Today, I want to share a personal experience highlighting a critical issue in the healthcare system. As someone who has worked in the healthcare field for over 13 years, I recently found myself on the other side as a caregiver for my parents. The experiences I had during this challenging time have prompted me to address an important aspect that healthcare professionals need to keep in mind, and it can also help you, the Careblazer, in your caregiving journey.
Let me set the stage for you. My dad had a severe fall, which landed him in the hospital for a month, including some time in the ICU. From there, he was transferred to a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation. It was during this transition that I encountered a series of disheartening experiences that shed light on the state of care facilities today.
Upon arriving at the skilled nursing facility, nobody greeted me. The worker at the front desk was busy with her phone, failed to acknowledge my presence or offer any assistance. I had to interrupt her to ask about my dad's location, only to be told that he wasn't even in the system. Frustrated but determined, I made my way to the nursing station, wondering why I had to interrupt the front desk worker in the first place.
Now, let me be clear. I know there are incredible workers in the healthcare system, and I've even had the privilege of working with them. But when someone we love is sick, every interaction is really important. Unfortunately, this initial encounter fell short of providing the support and compassion needed in such emotionally challenging times.
As I entered my dad's room, a flurry of activity was underway. In the chaos, someone approached my dad and presented him with a stack of papers to sign. However, rather than guiding him through the process, they proposed signing the documents for him. The way it was presented seemed more convenient for the staff member than considering my dad's preferences. When the staff member walked away without saying anything to me, I felt like I had to go and ask him what was going on.
To my dismay, he revealed himself as the nurse manager but failed to provide his name. He pointed out where the nurse was without introducing them or offering further assistance. This experience left me questioning the state of healthcare. How could such basic principles be overlooked? These fundamentals, including acknowledging someone's presence, making eye contact, introducing oneself, and using names, have become woefully neglected.
I recently came across a heartening sotry shared by a fellow Care Course member in one of our support sessions. She raised concerns about being unable to read the staff's name tags at her mom's care facility. Surprisingly, the administrators overheard her conversation with other family members and took action. The next day, the staff had improved name tags that were easier to read and in a larger font. It never occurred to the administrators that something as simple as legible name tags was essential for communication and connection.
This brings me to the main point I want to talk about. When we try to take better care of patients or our loved ones with dementia, we may look for big ideas and creative ways. But the most important thing is not to forget the simple and important values that should be at the heart of all care interactions.
So, I want to hear from you, fellow Careblazers. When you seek professional care for yourself or your loved one with dementia, what do you feel is missing? What basic aspects do you wish to see more of? I'm genuinely curious because I believe that many of these desires revolve around the forgotten essentials that we have neglected but are so important to restoring dignity and humanity to care.
Moreover, as Careblazers, we must also reflect on our own actions and make sure we uphold the basics in our caregiving journeys. Are we acknowledging our loved ones? Are we making eye contact, smiling, and being present for them? These seemingly simple acts can be so powerful, especially when dealing with individuals with dementia who may struggle with communication and self-regulation.
While I have the ability to manage my own emotions and responses, those with dementia may not. By prioritizing the basics, we can create an environment that reduces agitation, anger, and frustration, which will create deeper connections with our loved ones.
Let's not forget the basics and focus only on fancy methods or new approaches. Instead, let's aim for better care by treating everyone with kindness and respect. Send us an email and tell us what you think are the most important basics in caregiving.
My ultimate mission is to raise the standard of dementia care, advocating for specialized training and improved practices. However, let us begin by practicing the core principles that lay the foundation for compassionate care. Together, we can shape a future where healthcare treats patients as more than just statistics or dollar signs.
Keep pushing for a higher standard, Careblazers! Although change may seem daunting, I believe that with our collective efforts, we can change the way we care for our loved ones and ourselves. Let's demand the care they deserve and create a world where compassion and dignity are the cornerstones of healthcare.
Take care, and remember that the basics matter more than we often realize.
With hope for a better standard of care,
If you'd like to watch a video on this topic, you can click here.
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