The following article was written by Patricia Ramsey, RN.
Most healthcare workers never stop to think about things from their patient’s point of view…thinking that everyone’s reality is the same as their own. But this may be a very inaccurate view of your patient’s daily experience! The first thing we have to understand is that if you are there, the patient needs help. If the patient was able to care for themselves, they wouldn’t need you! This means that they have some kind of impairment in mobility, energy, ability and/or thought processes. So, it becomes immediately apparent that they AREN’T like you – they have special needs.
So, why does this matter? Because if we can somehow try to gain an understanding of our patient’s reality, we can be more helpful and provide safer and more compassionate care. Since you are probably not the same age as the patient, and you clearly have a different level of ability, this can be very difficult for you to visualize and understand.
Energy is one such issue. You are probably younger and healthier than your patient, and probably take your own energy levels for granted. You get up in the morning, take care of your toileting needs, bathe, complete your grooming rituals, eat and transport yourself to wherever you need to go. You do all this without a second thought, because it is habit and you have ample energy to complete these tasks. But it probably won’t always be this way!
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