Subacute Carers

There is just one reason someone becomes a carer or a nurse. It is a calling. It is not for the glamour or the money or the amount of leave days.

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I always thought that one is never more reminded of this than at those times when you are being cared for, when you step into the role of receiving care rather than to administer it.

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But I was wrong, it is only when one’s loved one is being cared for that you truly understand the desperate need for the true carers among us to step into those roles.

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One of the most dangerous careers to follow if your heart is not in it, is to become a health care worker. The damage you can leave in your wake can in fact be fatal.

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Five weeks ago a woman got discharged from hospital after a standard hip replacement, after 4 weeks in a sub-acute facility she came to us, only to die of wounds inflicted by pure neglect at another facility.

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Imagine how different her life would have ended if the carers encouraged mobility rather than to restrain her in her chair. I wonder what conversations she could have had with her children and grandchildren if she was not drugged to the hilt throughout her stay at the step-down facility. It would have been wonderful if she could have walked out of the step-down facility ( after all she did walk into it after being discharged from the hospital albeit with a walker) rather than being pushed out on a stretcher, sicker and weaker than ever before in her life.

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We see this often, when facilities and institutions lose their souls and the nurses, carers and sisters start thinking they have jobs when in fact it is very special calling, a purpose and a passion.

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I write these words to remind myself, first of all and then my staff so that we never forget that when we care for our guests, we must treasure them as we want our loved ones to be cherished. May we never grow hard and callous. May we never think any press of a nurse call button is not urgent. Let us always work gracefully, gently and speedily. Let us never dare to shout across a patient at a fellow staff member in our ethnic language. May everyone’s pain and discomfort break our hearts. We need to embrace every learning opportunity, never stop educating ourselves and embrace technology where it benefits our profession. Let us take the extra time and listen to what is said, not just by the guests, but by others that care and love that guest. May we remember that the illness or injury our guest struggles with affects him or her holistically and his or her loved ones. Let us honour the fact that our guest is the most important part of any care plan and they remain in charge of their own decisions. No one is more important than that person needing us right that minute.

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During this precious lady’s last days on earth we put her in a beautiful room with a view of the pool, her children and grandchildren had free access to her whenever they wanted. In fact, one of them slept with her every night she was with us. We made her favourite meals , she slept on fresh white linen and not in a hospital bed, we poured her a glass of whiskey when she asked, we bought her white roses, as these were her favourite. She died with dignity in the arms of her children knowing she was loved and treasured.

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