There was a recent New York Times op-ed piece titled "Doctor, Shut Up and Listen." Basically, it took you through a case about a woman who was having symptoms of a rapid heartbeat and feeling "stressed." However, every doctor she saw wrongly referred her for psychological counseling for an anxiety disorder.
Recently, I was at an event where the Pledge of Allegiance was said and started to really concentrate on the words. I asked myself: Are we really one nation, with liberty and justice for all? Why is it so important we ask ourselves this? Because our facilities really are the most diverse workplaces I know.
We may talk about the term "customer service" and ask our staff members to avoid public arguments in front of residents and family members. But nevertheless, volatile situations happen every day. It matters a lot, and here are the psychological implications why.
It's easier to have empathy for people if you know specific things about them. Long-term care providers know this, and it is behind many valuable programs to learn more about residents' lives. Journalists also know this to be true, as shown by the recent Frontline/ProPublica expose on assisted living.
When my mother was undergoing treatment for breast cancer around 15 years ago, a good friend of hers would call and start crying.
My wife's a Realtor. And no, I'm not wondering if you or anyone you know would like to buy or sell a home in Walla Walla, WA. That would be a crass and brazen misuse of this forum. Though if you happen to have a real estate need, I could definitely get a message to her. I hear she's quite good.
Despite all the technology, fancy buildings, dining and activity experiences, healthcare boils down to one thing: human relationships. Most skilled healthcare workers go into the profession with the best of intentions. Yet, in many organizations, the spark is gone even among some of our best.
If Bill Clinton added "M.D." after his name, slung a stethoscope around his neck and started visiting the residents in your nursing facility, there's a chance that your residents might start feeling better — however briefly — new research suggests.
If you are reading this, you likely work in long-term care and probably are skilled at empathizing with others. But you might have a coworker who doesn't seem to "get it" yet.