Compassion and Dignity
During Eden training last week in Austria I shared with a large number of participants details of the nursing home scandal in Zürich (see my post March 2nd). We tried to explain what kind of organizational culture makes compassion slip away and allow for undignified behaviour of carers and nurses? After that we shared moments of compassion from our own experience. Here is the story of one of the caregivers: “I was on night duty and I found Mr. Director’s bed empty. We call him Mr. Director because he was the principal of an important institution here in town. He has dementia and had lived with us for some time. I scanned the room and finally I say him. He was sleeping on the writing desk by the window. His body bent round and small to fit what he must have thought was his bed. As he was lying there, I did not see a person with dementia, confused, mixing up his bed with his writing desk. No, I saw Mr. Director, correct and dignified as always. Instead of complaining that the bed had shrunk he tried to fit on what he thought was his bed. I gently covered him with a blanket, slipped a pillow under his head, touched his cheek and left the room, tears running down my face”.
Shouldn’t we all work together to create a culture like this in every nursing home in the world?