Fandango posted about how he is getting ready to move house, so his WordPress activity will be hit and miss for the next few months. But he made it today and has posted his Friday Flashback.
I have always liked the idea of his Friday Flashback, so shall also post my own. As much as anything, it reminds me of where I was. Hopefully, you will find it entertaining too. Whether he gets to post or not, I’ll continue to post under the Fandango’s Friday Flashback tag, just to stay consistent with my previous posts on the theme.
I picked a post today from exactly two years ago. It’s about my voluntary work. I’d been volunteering for maybe a year – in the beginning I just walked around the beds and talked to anyone who fancied a chat. In my post, I talk about an idea by the therapists, that rather than having a five-minute chat by the patient’s bed, the staff could bring out the most suitable four or five patients, and we could all chat in a communal area for maybe an hour or more.
It was a good idea, but of course, it required some input from the therapists, identifying the suitable patients and often bringing them out to the communal area. That particular idea ended after the main therapist herself became pregnant and went on maternity leave. After that, it fizzled out, although there have been a few attempts since to put something structured in place.
At present, we have a kind-of halfway house, which seems to work well. During the week, the therapists will put the names of suitable patients onto a whiteboard. By the time we come around, there will be seven or eight. We find which bed each patient is in, and visit them at their bedside. The advantage of doing things this way mean that the therapists don’t need to be present at the time we visit. Whilst I am a volunteer and just happy to spend some time up there for free, the therapists are paid by the hospital and need to justify that talking to patients/relatives is the best use of their time.
I had a meeting up at the hospital with some of the staff. The subject was getting a kind of peer group up and running. The kind of thing I do already (on my own) at my drop-in, but they wanted some more survivors involved, plus current patients. The hope was to bring the peer aspect to the patients.
Overall, it seems like a good idea. I pointed out though that for any stroke survivor, there is a need to have a pro-active attitude, first and foremost. To want to recover. So even though all the patients might be close proximity, a patient with that kind of attitude would benefit the most.
It is easy just to use myself as an example here. Attending something at the hospital also implies that I:
- Get myself washed and dressed, and out of the house at a certain time. OK, this is easy…
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I think you volunteers do a wonderful job and I would have loved something like on the wards. However, because of the risks and the vulnerability of the patients, it just wasn’t possible. When I worked in the day hospital, we had patient groups where they could share their thoughts, feelings, coping strategies etc.
You’re right about the ‘wanting’ to get better. I wanted to get better! A lot of the time, patients took on the ‘sick role’ and I would ask them in the various therapy groups “What are the benefits of staying unwell?” They looked at me like I was mad. There are lots of reasons why patients prefer to stay sick, like if they get better “mum and dad or friends wouldn’t look after me any more” or “If I get better then I’ll have to take responsibility for ………”
Being sick is a role that offers the patient many advantages both directly, in terms of being absolved from undertaking many daily activities if necessary, and indirectly, through additional financial and other resources that may be offered.
Keep up the good work.
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I remember with me, afterwards, I had a lot of thoughts, I will have another stroke tomorrow and that will do for me, so what is the point? It took a lot of time to realise that it was not really any more likely to happen to me again than it is to anybody else. But it took time to get my head around that. Also, going online is probably the first step to support, and immediately afterwards I had no interest in even going near a computer. Plus the stroke affected my eyesight, I was forever mistyping passwords etc. It made it difficult when I couldn’t get into my bank account!
The current role involves a DBS as a pre-requisite. That’s kind of a given before anything even starts. In fact, the old one ran out at Christmas and I am still waiting for the new one to come through so missed the last session. But I’m not prepared to take the risk otherwise.