Saturday, 1 February 2014

Dignity action day

A day greated by the dignity in care council, to promote....well, dignity in care.
You wouldn't really think it'd need promoting woukd you? I mean, most of us will grow old some day and, when that time comes, many of us will need care. Of course there are many other people who need care and support, those with physical, mental, learning disabilities etc. It's just that care for the elderly is what I know.
But anyway, to regain tge tgread of what I was saying, tge idea of dignity in care seems so obvious. And yet so often, for so many reasons it gets horribky lost amidst other things. There are the obvious cases, horrendous abuse at the hands of carers be that theft, physical harm, plain neglect or any of the other hideous things humans can do to each other. You may have seen the stories about abuse in care homes in the news recently.
In a way though that's almost not the point. There will always be people who abuse their power over vulnerable induviduals and willing behave in horrible ways.
There will also be people who behave in horrible ways UNwillingly. People who are just trying to do their job but, for whatever reason, skip the dignity bit. Lack of time is often a major culprit. Simple things like allowing a service user to retain independence by buttoning their own shirt, get lost in 'I'm in a rush it's quicker if I do it'. It saves time to just grab some matching clothes rather than ask an individual to pick an outfit. Over worked you forget how someine likes their tea, their porridge, which way they like their sandwiches cut. Service users merge into one and daily routines become autonomous and standardised, with less thought for what is easiest for any specific person. Frustration at yet more rota changes, rule changes, communication errors means the service user ends up listening to your complaints, shouldering your problems, their own emotional needs get edged out.
In short, the individual gets lost amongst the bullshit.
Not bad carers, not bad people. Just good people with bad habits.

I'm not, of course, saying all carers behave in all these way all the time. But it happens. It can creep in. And inadvertently vulnerable people suffer. I'm lucky, I have an easy time. My mental health issues mean I have a light workload, and a supportive family mean I can maintain that. But there was a time where I was working 60 plus hours a week, often not taking days off and generally just being an idiot. And I didn't always behave in a way that was best for each individual. I ended up compromising between the absolute best for one person and doing the best I could for as many people as I could. And it sucked.
I love that now I get to take my time,  and not always be panicking about keeping up with a crammed schedule in order to make sure I'm not getting people up at midday.
God knows I'm not a perfect carer, there are times I feel like a useless carer (but there are also times I feel like a useless human being so who knows). I do care, and I do try to do whats best for 'my ladies'. But it's always worth stepping back and examining your motivations, asking youself am I treating this service user as a person or as a job?
It's important. It makes a difference. And one day that will become abundantly clear. The system is mainly rubbish and in need of change. The carers are mainly not rubbish, and in need of help. But we can all do little things.

I feel like im preaching. The colours of this mani are from my uniform. But I'm not meant to post about the company online :p. And DAD is for Dignity Action Day, of course, rather than father lol. X