Older Mind Matters

Harry, Joan and the heroes, part 3

I am just reading the report from the ‘Commission on improving dignity on care’, entitled ‘Delivering Dignity. Securing dignity in care for older people in hospitals and care homes. A report for consultation.’ (Link to it here)

Joan’s daughter can describe a dignity challenge.

A nurse, who was asked how Joan was getting on, commented to her daughter ‘She’s not mobilizing well. Of course she’s really a social problem’. This is a nurse’s description of a woman of 86 with her leg in plaster, pronounced spinal curvature and severe osteoarthritis in most of her joints, who had difficulty in walking before she fractured her tibia. I cite this as an outstanding example of denigratory language and perhaps the ‘Commission on improving dignity in care’ might like to comment on the use of the term ‘social problem’ as applied to older adults with complex physical health needs. Perhaps too they would like to reflect on how the ‘system’ pushes people who are ill into the category of ‘social’ in order that they shift out of the health budget and (even better) have to pay out of their own pockets. I’m rather old fashioned in my approach. I think the job isn’t done when you put the plaster on the broken leg – the real challenge (and what it’s all about) is helping the patient to walk!

Putting dignity to one side, how are Harry and Joan getting on? Harry is enjoying his respite in the Home and starting to wonder whether it will be wise for him to plan to go home and take over Joan’s care again in future. Joan is not enjoying her stay in hospital, but hopes to move nearer to Harry very soon. There are a number of heroes, friends who in some cases are travelling long distances to visit the couple

1 comment (Add your own)

1. David Jolley wrote:
Thanks for the update. There is so much to learn from this individual complex case-study which strengthens the messages from Reports – There are so many that they lose power to shock or influence simply because they are always there and nothing is done to achieve effective change.

As for the notion of multiple pathology and disability being equated grumblingly to ‘a social disease’:
We had, of course, Officer Krupke addressing the concept in a younger generation www.westsidestory.com/site/level2/lyrics/krupke.html

Roy Boyd provided a classical analysis in Health Care of the Elderly edited by Tom Arie (1981) Chapter 9 pp 143 – 157: ‘What is a ‘Social Problem’ in Geriatrics?

Knowing your enemy is the first requirement in any battle, but there is so much more to do to gain a victory ie a fair deal for the older person

Sat, March 17, 2012 @ 3:38 PM

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