Care, and the Trust in Care – Caregivers
In part one I talked about care in the way of how we regard one another in a personal way as well as in the broader scheme, like community and society.
Care has so many facets I thought it best to approach the word and subject as a series of papers. The words I share are based on my own experiences and learning around the human experience to include faith, philosophy, history, and medicines.
In this part I want to explore care in the way that we are familiar with as healthcare. This includes caregiving and “carers” as Brits say.
In life we all, or most of us, have been the recipients of some kind of care in this form. When we are born is often the first encounter, but in modern times even before birth our mothers and us are given care by some kind of healthcare professional. As life goes along we may have ongoing healthcare from dentists, nurses and doctors.
Fast forwarding; we typically have parents who age, and with age often comes many doctor visits and time spent with caregivers and healthcare professionals.
My mother was ill for many decades prior to her passing. I estimate my time spent visiting her in hospitals as a year. I am still wowed by that number, and unlike when I was young; I have no fear of hospitals now.
Her health decline started when I was very young and Mom was spending a lot of time at Stanford in California. She fought two cancers and multiple other issues related and not. She beat cancer twice but with a toll on her general health.
I should tell you that my Mom was a nurse herself. She was a healthcare professional. She had worked in hospitals in the operating room and the wards as well in a private practice.
I’ll get back to what I wanted to share about “care” and healthcare more specifically.
I learned some things from my own experience, about healthcare.
One key thing I learned and I share with others in our hep c community is the need for people to advocate for themselves. This is not always possible I know, for any number of reasons, but someone outside the healthcare field needs to be your advocate when you are dealing with any serious illness. This can be a spouse or partner, a friend, or an advocate. For some it may simply be someone to help with remembering all the medicalese the doctor. just said about your condition or treatment. Some of us would not want an advocate because of our own confidence or privacy issues and I get that, but for many of the rest of us I believe it makes sense and is altogether practical.
Some healthcare professionals will not like you to bring someone into a consult, but I am unaware of any law or rule where they can deny it. I don’t mean during an operation or big intervention or test but when you sit down with the healthcare pro to talk about your condition and your options/status.
It is important to approach this with all due respect to the healthcare professional or caregiver. Nobody likes to be treated with contempt. That is not to say that you should be in awe of anyone because of the number of letters behind their name. Simple human dignity and respect like one would afford to your neighbor and fellow humans-and dogs, love dogs too.
Should you trust your doctor or other care provider? Yes!
That is a question I ask myself every time I am seeing a new doctor for the first time…or the fifth time. Are they qualified to do the best possible job for you? This gets a little tricky now as we dig below the surface. Trust…hmmmm what is trust? Gosh! You tell me!
It is defined in any number of ways, as we know. Do I trust my doctor because they listen to me when I explain how I feel?
I can tell you that this is key for me. I really need a doctor or healthcare provider that listens to what I am saying about my condition or any concerns I have. They need to be respectful back to me, and answer my questions.
I hear from some people who say that their doctor does not care or listen. I have caught myself defending these doctors on occasion saying they are very busy and blah blah blah. Nonsense really, and if you ever read or hear me say that please remind me about how much nonsense it is.
Yes they are busy, but gee whiz aren’t we all kind of busy these days with facebook and our “smart” phones demanding so much of our time.
Being busy does not cut it as an excuse for not listening by healthcare providers.
If we are “too busy” we need to lighten our workload don’t we? Easier said than done for many of us, and that includes care providers.
If you can ask a simple question of your doctor or other care provider, which is like this example:
“Do you have time to take my case on, and are you willing to listen to my concerns, and listen to my questions as they come up?”
No need to ask this word for word, but any version that suits you may help to get an idea as to whether you can take them on as your healthcare provider. Remember, they are providing a service to you, not the other way around. This is not to say that you are above them, but you are more than just numbers and a “case” because you are a person just like them. They forget this at times, like the rest of us, and some are better than others at remembering their own place in the healthcare provider role.
This leads to the idea of trust in care.
Once again, do you trust your doctor or other healthcare provider?
Should you? Yes!!!!!
Ask yourself why and I am sure you will know the answer.
Would you want a scrapyard flunky (all due respect) to work on your car? To fix your brakes or do a major repair? Would you want Jimmy from down at the corner, who sells drugs, (all due respect) to sell you treatment meds?
You get the point I am sure. We need to have trust in the people who provide us with what can be life-saving care and attention.
If you don’t, please look at what your options are, and I know that in some places there exists few options. If there are limited options please talk to the professional involved about your concerns, and maybe they will respond in an appropriate way.
Trust is paramount in care.