A report by Debbie Boock, MAC Training Officer
Dr Faizal Ibrahim (Consultant Geriatrician at the QEH) is the champion of champions. His enthusiasm abounds and he has a lifelong wish to make Alzheimer’s sexy. That is a big ask, you may say. However this enthusiasm was brought to the recent Dignity in Care Conference held on the 1st Feb 2013 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Though the conference was aimed at nursing staff, there was lots of information for those working in the community care sector. Of interest was the presentation on hospital gowns. Apparently the gowns have been re-designed on a number of occasions worldwide, providing very little change. However, due to the lack of complaints, regarding this undignified garment, we get to keep wearing it.
As Patron of Dignity in Care, Maggie Beer provided a picture of how food in hospitals can, with thought, provide a respectful aspect of a patients stay. There were many anecdotal comments from nurses, who buy food for a patient as the kitchen is closed or if open, the food on offer is limiting and often declined. Maggie believes that “a simple act of kindness can do so much” and yet the Aged Care Industry, according to Maggie, is more concerned with risk aversion. She believes this is to the detriment of the industry. One example is in NSW, where through their ‘Vulnerable’ Act a boiled egg must be cooked for 17 minutes.
The speakers provided a picture of how we could be mindful of the needs of an individual and treat them with respect and dignity. For me, there was an outstanding example of the results which can be achieved. Karen Hales – Acting Director of Ageing, Central Adelaide Local Health Network, displayed two photos of the same woman as a before and after shot. This lady was frail aged and had Alzheimer’s. The before shot was taken whilst the person lived in an Aged Care Facility. The after shot was after some time living in her daughter’s home. The youthfulness, engaged look and joy of life oozed out of the after shot. I could hardly tell it was the same person. I’m not advocating that we must keep our loved elderly at home under all circumstances. I just believe there is room to provide dignity in care in all the services we provide.
Please enjoy these related videos.
I’m not a number – http://www.staff.city.ac.uk/~jacky/dignity/video_number.html
Dignity – How Would You Feel? – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiyVIoAhbH8