Care is about human connection and understanding the whole person you are caring for. I’ve served others in healthcare for 16 years but I’ve also been a patient in a hospital bed many times in my life. In a sense, Ive been on one side of the bed or the other for 39 years. My many experiences as a patient in the early years of my life were responsible for shaping my character, forming my powerful why and leading me to my purpose.
When I was 5, I had my 4th back surgery. I can still remember this experience vividly; particularly the fear and pain associated with the constant needle pricks, IV tubes, hooked to several machines and the severe pain of surgical tape being peeled off my back. More memorable though, was the loving, compassionate, empathetic touch I received from those who cared for me like I was their family. While they did not know me prior to admission, they did not treat me as a statistic or medical record number; rather, I was uniquely cared for based upon my individual needs. While the reason for admission was to have the surgical procedure, I had other needs that entered the social and psycho-social realms. At the age of five, it was hard to understand what was happening and why I was in the hospital. I had questions like, “why are people hurting me” and “why am I different than others?” The key to making this experience positive was having every one of my needs addressed. Throughout my admission, the members of my care team created social engagement through visits to a playroom full of toys down the hall. They replaced pain with painting. Through social interaction (and ice cream) they created an environment of love and hope for a five-year old boy facing crisis and fear. Quite simply, I felt worthy of love and there is nothing more powerful on this earth than experiencing love through human interaction and connection. This experience has stayed with me for 34 years and Ive since had many similar stories.
As I reflect on my patient experiences, I consider most of them to be extraordinarily positive. At the center of my positive outcomes are not the medical procedures themselves, but rather the people delivering the care. Each member of a care team holds the power to add dividends to the trust bank; doing so contributes to the creation of a safe and positive environment. While things like natural light, aesthetics, technology and open space can enhance an environment; the care team is responsible for creating it. When a patient feels worthy of love through deep connection with a care provider, social and psycho-social health are positively impacted. Focusing on the whole person and tailoring the care to them specifically, delivers clinical AND quality of life outcomes.
I contribute my high degree of empathy and compassion for others to having such an amazing support system of family and care providers around me at the scariest moments in my life. I recognize my resiliency has been due to the emotional, spiritual and psychological support I received through the social interactions and trusting engagements that inspire hope and healing. These are the environments we create for the clients of Care Partners At Home, based in Irvine, California. While it is extremely important to have the knowledge and skill set to address and manage a chronic disease or illness, the most critical component of our care is creating an environment of trust through connection. So often we are called into crisis knowing only the most recent details of an Acute event or new diagnosis. This is a testament to the importance of having Geriatric Care Managers and Physicians on our team. Taking the time to learn about our client with the purpose of understanding their medical, clinical, spiritual, emotional, social and psychological needs. What did they do for a living? What brings passion and purpose to their lives? What stories do they love telling? Our beautiful stories begin with assessment and end in a care team deeply connected with our client (and their loved ones); delivering a loving, compassionate, empathetic care that declares, you are family. YOU are worthy of LOVE.”
I endeavor to care for those in need and make them feel the way others have made me feel. I am called to create environments for our clients that advocate healing, rehabilitation and a focus on wellness. Our teams accomplish this by first getting to know and understand the whole person for whom we will care. We do this by creating meaningful connections. If you similarly work to change the world through each human interaction and connection, please dont hesitate to call me. I would love to hear your stories.
My best to each of you,