This might not seem a very home eddy kind of subject for a home education blog. But life is home education and treating others with kindness and respect, especially when they are frail, is a good lesson to learn.
I have a friend who is 85. She recently had a fall, and is often the way for people of that age, she broke her neck of femur and is now in hospital. She has had surgery and has already been transferred to rehab where we went to see her at the weekend.
I have to say my experience of working with and visiting frail older people has been bleak. I was very concerned at what we would find.
She is in the brand new, just opened, and rather shiny Queen Elizabeth hospital. It’s a place of huge corridors. She has a room to herself and it’s typical hospital NHS fare. But she was comfortable, had plenty to drink and was clean. I was so grateful to find her like that.
I saw no more than three staff on duty so the fact they were managing to keep on top of care for some fairly highly dependant people is very good. She said they were taking good care of her and she seemed ok although of course she very much wants to go home. She knows her daughter and grandchildren are busy getting the house set up for her return and that is helping her-although she is much much more forgetful than she was only a couple of weeks ago. I wonder if it is the anaesthetic.
I hope the front line staff will support her family in getting what she needs to be able to live at home, if at all possible. I know her daughter is finding it difficult to get staff to talk to her, because they are so rushed off their feet.
When this new Government take the axe, as I know they must, to the NHS and other services, I hope they will target the extraneous managerial staff and not nurses and those who actually do the patient care. I think they could save money and increase staffing in one blow by insisting that no nurse manager spends more than half his working hours with a clip board. The rest must be on the wards or in the community having proper clinical duties.
After my friend’s suicide last year I became more convinced that my cynicism about those who are supposed to be carers was justified, but I am glad to say it was dented just a little by the gentle and respectful way I saw the nurses talk to Dot.
I wonder if staff would be better with patients if they knew their story. When I trained we were all made to study the poem The Crabbit Old Woman, but families might need to read this reply to the crabbit old woman (hideous muzac alert!). In the end if nurses are not treated with respect, they will be ground down and find it harder to treat those crabbit old people with respect.
But for now, Dot is cared for and for that I am grateful.
Please say a prayer for Dot. She looks very frail indeed right now.