I’ve spent the vast majority of my working life talking about person centred health care. About putting ‘the patient’ first and adapting services to meet their needs. I thought that’s what it was all about. I thought that’s what pateint’s wanted.
I was wrong.
Having just spent two weeks in hospital I’ve realised that person centred care isn’t just about creating individually tailored care packages – although, of course, that’s important.
Person centred care is actually much simpler. It’s just about seeing the person behind the condition.
- It was the woman who cleaned my hospital room sitting with me every day, holding my hand and asking me about my home and my pets.
- It was the same woman crying with me when I was in too much pain to get out of bed; telling me she couldn’t sleep for thinking about me; kneeling beside my bed, rubbing my arm and telling me she loves me and wants me to get better.
- It was the auxiliary nurse who sat with me for over an hour in the middle of the night talking about her grandchildren and showing me pictures to keep me company because I coudn’t sleep.
- It was every member of my care team who asked what my job was, what my hobbies were, if I had pets or children or basically anything about me and not my condition or diagnosis.
- It was the other woman who cleaned my room seeing a pile of photos by my bed of my beautiful neice and nephews and putting them on the wall for me without being asked.
- It was then every person who asked about the smiling children in the photos on display.
- It was the Dr who talked to me about what had been happening in a shared favourite TV show while she took a heart trace which involved her seeing me naked, rather than making the situation unnecessarily awkward.
- It was the nurse who told me she thought I was beautiful when she saw the framed wedding photo in my room, rather than just seeing the far from attractive ‘cancer patient’ lying in front of her.
- It was the nurse who sat with me during her breaks, even when she was working on a different ward because she had supported me through an anxiety attack soon after my surgery and now knew me as a person.
- It was the surgeon who released me from hospital for a couple of hours to visit the beach to help me feel less anxious.
- It was every person who took the time to know me…
This is quality care.
This is what makes a difference.
This is what I’ll remember during my recovery and always.
I’ve learnt that when at your lowest, lower than you thought humanly possible, this is all that matters – the compassion of one human to another. The care, the time and the consideration to show love to another spirit.
How blessed I am to have seen this on my journey.
I can only hope that more people will realise that this is the care that gets people through hard recovery times. Yes, I’m not going to lie, of course the drugs help(!!) but it’s compassion and love that give you something to live for.
Love and light, Fi xxx