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Healthy Caring



I really try not to ever write a blog post when I’m mad. The end results are never good. So today, even as I am feeling a little hot under the collar, I will try to be objective.

I’m just recovering from an unpleasant phone call with very rude health care worker and I still haven’t got the bad taste out of my mouth. A personal matter, unrelated to my mother or being a caregiver, still it highlights one of the most stressful issues that everyone has to face: rudeness and apathy when being cared for.

 You know what I’m talking about:

 The answering machine message left by a voice that can only be described as bored, telling you that your mother-in-law’s level of care has moved to palliative.

The (again bored) answering machine message that they have found a cyst in your breast, that your heart beat is irregular or that they’ve found a tumour.

The “How can I help you?” without looking up from their paper in the tone of voice most save for telephone solicitors – that makes it clear they don’t want to help.

You’ve waited for 15 minutes in the wrong waiting room and when your number finally gets called, eyes are rolled and you receive unclear, snappy directions to where you should be – idiot!

Let me stress, I have had the privilege of dealing with some amazing, caring and nurturing people in the health care field. I can’t say enough good things about the staff and doctors at my mother’s nursing home! On a personal level, a few weeks back, I had a little health scare of my own that resulted in a few ultrasounds and a mammogram. (I’m in perfect health!) Everyone from the nurses, the technicians and the administrative clerks was surprisingly empathetic, friendly and helpful. But, WOW, what a difference it makes when they are not.

I don’t think that many people realize that caring for others, how you treat people is almost as important as what you do or know when you treat them. When people, particularly seniors, find themselves in need of health care they are SICK, FRIGHTENED and VULNERABLE. It’s bad enough to be rude and apathetic when you’re someone’s internet provider, but it is almost inexcusable when dealing with the hurting and ill. This is especially true with older people who don’t ask questions and have trouble recalling yourmedical-speak. Just think about the difference a little eye contact, a warm voice and a caring smile make to a person facing cancer, dementia or their own death; Compare that to being in a room full of people who couldn’t give a care that your world is crashing down around your feet. Shame on you patient haters!

I get it to a point, clinics and hospitals are cash strapped and staff short, but being busy and over rushed are not excuses for rudeness and apathy. Look around you, the people making an effort to be nice are just as busy as you are!

Maybe, it starts in the training of staff and their evaluation process. Maybe, if people were held accountable for how they treat people and not just their level of productivity, we’d see more care in health care. Maybe, it is just a matter of everyone trying to be better people. I am not naïve to the fact that there are patients who behave rudely, with a sense of entitlement and impatience. But seriously people: BE NICE!!

Have a nice day.

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