Of all the institutions which provided care for my eldest brother before he died, I must single out Putrajaya Hospital’s (PH) orthopaedic ward for special mention. They gave exemplary medical and nursing care to my brother.
He was in the ortho ward for 10 days and it was the first time that I got no complaint from anyone about my brother. Both the doctors and nurses (male and female) were very professional and asked me for his background and treated him accordingly. They were aware of his old age-related cognitive impairments and accommodated him.
They understood that it was because of his cognitive disabilities that he was difficult to manage, but, manage, they did. They treated him with respect and spoke very kindly to him even when he did funny things like pinching lose his diapers. They would kindly tell him not to do this or that and then solve the problem without putting the burden on him.
Everywhere else, I got a litany of all his woes! For goodness sake! He is cognitively impaired! That’s his illness! Everywhere else, if they couldn’t give the care he should get, the problem was him not them! But, not at PH’s ortho ward. Not once did I get a negative word about him. They just did their job very well. In addidtion, they were very helpful. When it was time to discharge my brother, I asked if they could help move him into the car because the surpervisor of the old folks home at Calvaryland where he was staying and who came to take him needed help, they obliged.
Some cynics may say that they put on their best behaviour because they know I am a journalist. Well, the other institutions also know that but that didn’t motivate them to treat my brother the way PH’s ortho ward did. I don’t think that was the reason. I think they are just a better crop of caregivers. From my observations, they have better people skills and, most likely, are better trained. So, they gave exemplary service.
My brother got just as good medical care at UH’s ortho ward when he was admitted there two months ago, but the nursing care was not as good as at PH’s ortho ward. The nurses were sometimes rude not only to my brother but to other bedridden patients as well who kept calling them to attend to them. For them, the problem was the patient, not their own lack of skill. (I must add here that the nursing care was better when my brother was moved to UH’s geriatrics ward.)
Both hospitals gave good medical care, but one gave it with a respectfully caring attitude irrespective of how the patient behaved. To me that is an excellent attitude in care giving. If, at the back of their minds, caregivers think the problem is the patient, they’ll always have the attitude that they are superior to the patient and that it is all the patient’s fault. And, any one can pick that up. If that anyone is someone like my brother, he will react.
Perhaps, that was the reason why my brother made no scene at PH’s ortho ward. He was still difficult but less agitated.
In care giving, the attitude counts. You may still provide the service, and the recipients will acknowledge it and pay for it, but they’ll never be appreciative of your efforts and never feel gratitude. As long as caregivers feel that the problem is the patient or the person in their care, they reveal their lack of skill. Instead of admitting to their lack of skill and trying to improve, if they continue with that judgmental attitude, that attitude will negate all the good works they do.
I was at peace when my brother was at PH’s ortho ward. And I’m very grateful to the doctors and nurses who took such good care of him. Their service deserves commendation and is an exemplary act to follow.