In academia students are often asked to reflect “in practice” and reflect “on practice”. Sometimes, when I am in the midst of an experience it is difficult to comment on it… it is too close, and words fail me. While in Nepal, not only was it an incredible experience, and so stimulating to meet such warm and kind people, but I had a difficult time understanding and sorting through the finer details of things. There were pieces that I could not post because I was not sure I was correct in my assessments, or in my understanding.
Mostly I was inspired by the beautiful people, the genuine caring, and the intelligent and well educated nurses. I was thrilled to be there, at the invitation of Dr Robin Love, to adapt the ‘Essentials in Hospice Palliative Care’ resources for the developing countries. It was so much easier to make some of the changes when I was in this setting. Not only was I more focused, but I was also able to hear the concerns and witness the realities of their caregiving.
Perhaps the most startling revelation was the requirement that all patients must have a family member to care for them while in hospital. As I consider this request, I can not help but consider how this would impact all those involved, I wonder how many people are not able to come to hospital because they do not have a caregiver, and consider those who leave their homes, jobs and children in order to provide care. Then I picture the caregivers who sleep on the floor beside the bed, wash their clothes and hang them outside to dry, and are required to purchase and bring to the hospital all medications that are not stocked and supplied by the hospital.
In Canada we are challenged to provide good care for patients. Staff shortages are stressful for both patients and nurses. I wonder if the time will ever come when patients will be told to bring their own caregivers with them to the hospital…