Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Key #2: Provider Compassion

Hello again. I hope you all are doing ok. This is the second part of the series of postings I will do in regards to what I think are the key elements is successful BI recovery. Again, this is based on my personal experience and what has worked for me.
Throughout my recovery I have seen many medical providers, ranging from technicians to doctors. Some have been great and effective. Others have been not great at all leaving me desiring so much more care. I have seen many providers that make me feel I'm just another one breathing their airspace, it seemed like I was bothering them. Sometimes there I have seen lack of planning, for example, going to therapy and they didn't know what we were doing at the session and not listening to me among others. Never with those providers I knew what I had to achieve to be successful. For me it was like walking with no direction. At times it felt like the providers were in a throne and I was like a servant that had to praise them. Now, if research was in the air, they were quick of getting interested, like there was their chance to make a name. Some of my providers have being totally pathetic.
Now, there has been the other side of the coin. I've had many providers that do care. They not only see themselves as a provider, they also project themselves as a healing tool. Keep in mind healing from a brain injury is no only taking care of the injury itself, it is taking care of the person as a whole. Many of this other provider (I will refer to them as the Good Providers) many times go out of their scope of duties to take care of the person in a holistic way.
I see that treatment and therapy have better results as this therapist or doctors sit down and listen to the issues presented. For example, many times my different therapists at Mentis listened to other issues, ie emotional, etc. They either do some kind of counseling themselves or refer me to the proper path. Nine times out of ten what they say is enough to resolve any present issues.
As a Soldier, my physical fitness reflect on me emotionally, so the more in shape I am the better I feel. Another example, usually on neuro rehabilitation a physical therapist focuses on dizziness, vertigo, balance, and any other physical effects of the BI, well my Physical Therapists knows how important it is for me to be physically fit and returning to duty so at times they would take me on three to four mile runs. They do not have to do that, but since they are so committed in my goals and in treating me as a whole they go out of their scope of duty to make this happen for me.
Yet, another example, Speech Pathologists normally concentrates on fluency, memory, attention, concentration, and executive functioning. Well, my Speech Pathologists also focuses on my confidence. After the injury I lost most of my confidence, either because of the fluency problem or just for the fact that I couldn't do things with the same effectiveness as before the BI. My SP is taking care of building my confidence again. I do not expect to be the same as before, but is do expect to be pretty close and thanks to them I am reaching that goal. In order to achieve a successful recovery, the providers at Mentis and I set goals that are discussed and planned between us. It is not dictated to me, it is a team effort. I am part of that team.
All of my providers at this time, they are open to listen to any issues and in dealing with them. There are issues that are emotional. There are emotional stages on recovering from a BI. I had learned that at Mentis. There is grieve, mourn, sadness, acceptance, etc. These are part of the healing process. It is because the injury caused an abrupt and sudden change in my life. I learn about the emotional stages of healing at Mentis. This feeling are nowhere related to combat experiences. I understand this now. It is very unique in the Army that any emotional issues are PTSD. So, by them not understanding the problem leads to a delay in resolving issues. Thanks to all the providers I have right now most of the issues are being resolved as they become present.
If you are a provider reading this blog, my message to you is, your compassion, understanding, and listening skills add effectiveness to you expertise. Your patients are human beings like you. Not because you have more academic degrees means you are more than them. Be humble and level with your patients. Making a personal and emotional connection with your patients will help the recover faster. By achieving this you are not only healing the brain injury you are healing the whole person. Do this and you will have a long lasting impact in your patients lives and they will never forget you.

1 comment:

  1. Greetings, I think that you are completely correct when you address compassion as an ingredient to successful treatment. I am a medical student who suffered a TBI and during my treatment I was appalled at how some care I received was so far divergent from the way I thought we, the future doctors, were being 'taught' to treat patients. And this is what I decided: as basic as it sounds, we simply cannot teach in a classroom how to be empathetic and compassionate because those qualities are are something the emotionally intelligent individual will seek to teach themselves. So, just like I wouldn't want to be best friends with everyone I meet on the street, not everyone with a medical license is emotionally qualified to be a support to patients going through one of the most isolating and frustrating injuries I can think of. I started interviewing (or having my family/patient advocates interview) prospective providers because I had setbacks with ignorant providers.

    I am excited to have found your blog and I hope to read more about your recovery.
    All the best.