As part of the TED Education series (Technology, Entertainment and Design) Psychologist Dr Peggy Andover and animator Alan Foreman have created this very stylish introduction to Operant and Classical Conditioning. I was impressed by the pigeons! There is a brief example of some of Alan Foreman’s other work here.
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The news is full (again) of benefit cuts and fiscal skulduggery which could be seen as a bit of a smokescreen for the real issues . The main concern of course should be about whether our health service in the UK can still deliver care which is free from the cradle to the grave. We all pay our taxes in the hope that should we need it it will be there for us but can we really rely on our politicians to make this happen? Recent concerns around Elder Care suggests charging a set limit, which will take us away from the ‘free’ idea straight away. Others suggest removing benefits from those who do not need them. I find it strange that we are now in the position that a lot of people get something for nothing who do not need it or want it but cannot give it back? At the same time we have waiting lists and poverty rates that are an embarrassment to a so called wealthy country. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is a useful place to visit for facts and figures on the health of different countries. Unconditional care is important so that we do not judge people on their own health risking behaviours but it is also important in making sure fairness ensues. People who need care should be able to access it when then need it and people who do not should be able to give it back in the hope that it will be there when they do. I sincerely hope we do not return to the days of the poor laws where people had to beg for alms for once we start to justify a conditional care system there will always be people who do not fit the criteria.
An interesting debate is going on here on a fellow blog site discussing the use of mental health law and criminal law for people suffering from a mental illness. From Mental Health Act to Prison.
Health and social care organisations are encouraged to promote self care or self management as a way of managing overburdened services. There is another more important reason for self care however that often gets forgotten about and that is empowerment and self control. Most of us recognise the warm feeling of control when we have it. It is comforting, relaxing a sort of confidence in that we have got something right that we know what we are doing and why we are doing it – it is power!
Self Care is also about taking the time to take care of yourself and there is much theory out there on why this is important. In health and social care we perhaps do not emphasise this enough and people may feel that they have been abandoned to their own devices without any support, which should never happen.
Self care is about being able to check in to your own health and social care resource centre from time to time and to stock up on supplies. This might include sleep, rest, exercise, nutrition, education, companionship and support. Being assertive helps us to identity when our resources are low and asking for help from professionals or family and friends.
Whatever our role(s) in life we all need to care for ourselves which includes self compassion, for without it we may not to be able to care for anyone else, however much we try.
Test how self compassionate you are here
This has been a terrible week for nursing across the UK. First an MP broadcasts the awful care her husband receives while dying in a hospital bed then a busy, stressed and probably very tired nurse makes a common mistake and trusts the other people on the end of a phone. The tragic result was that she could not live with the consequences of her mistrust and could see no way of repairing the damage.
The media (and politicians) have suddenly stooped bashing nurses as uncaring professionals and I hope have taken a moment to think about the effect of all this negative publicity on the profession and the people who are just trying to get on with their job, in often very difficult circumstances.
This is no excuse for poor practice but poor practice does not lie with individuals as I have said in the previous post. We are all responsible, the profession, the managers, the politicians, the public and yes the media for making sure nursing care in the UK is the best in the world. To do this we need to think more carefully about how we portray nurses, not as doctors handmaidens but as people who are knowledgeable, caring and often frustrated because other people will not listen to them. The mid Staffordshire tragedy is a good example of nurses and families not being listened to and politicians being dogmatic about the NHS.
Compassion starts when the ignorance stops and nurses in the UK now more than ever need support not criticism, understanding not ridicule and kindness not cruelty.
The recent CQC report on the Quality of Care in Nursing homes is one that has been repeated time and again by nursing and other health and social care professions. So why isn’t anyone listening? Most responders want to blame the individual members of staff for poor quality care but they must be being allowed to get away with it in the first place? In other areas of society we know that catching people taking drugs for example is no good if we do not also catch the dealer who gave them the drugs in the first place. In order to improve care we need to round up the care ‘dealers’ the ones who tell or allow their staff to work in a particularly harmful way or turn a blind eye to poor practice in their homes. Until the people responsible are held to account I fear this poor quality will continue with individual members of staff being scape-goated or becoming ill from the stress of having no power to change things.
In the above report the following quote states that
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “While there is much to praise about the NHS and social care today we still need to do much more to raise standards of care across the board.
“I’ve made it absolutely clear that quality of care needs to be valued as highly as the quality of treatment. And that there can be no hiding place for those providing poor care or sub-standard practice.”
Good idea but maybe we first need to know where to start looking? Next time you see a stressed member of staff, offer them your support not criticism, recognise them as a human being with needs too and help them to report practice that should never be ignored.
This week I have been doing a lot of learning. It amazes me how much there is to learn out there and how much of it is actually free. If you are new to health and social care either as a carer or a student this may quickly become information overload leaving you feeling more confused than when you started. Providing too much information is not necessary a good thing as people need time to think and consider what they have learnt.
I have added a few links to help people with this on the side bar on the right. You can visit these any time of the night or day and you can drop in and out when you need to. Some of them offer you the option to have email notifications of new information on the site so you do not need to keep checking. Anything that saves you time in your busy working day is useful. You can also sign up to Twitter and follow me @HSCBlog where I will also try to keep people updated although this will also be to help people to keep in touch with each other.
In the ever changing world of health and social care there is only one thing we can be sure of and that is that things will always be changing. Finding ways of keeping up to date is therefore very important for you and the people you care for.
In a new review of home care services in England the need to provide supportive and informative care to people who do not wish to spend the rest of their lives in a care home is clearly laid out. Where the Heart is…… reviews all types of care provided and their effectiveness in meeting the needs of a growing population of older people. They found that people value regular contact with familiar faces who are on time and respectful of their individual needs. The report also highlights the important work of home care in preventing illness, increasing socialisation, reducing the need for full time care either in hospital of a care home and in maintaining a person’s level of independence.
As our culture changes in the UK so must our attitude towards the most vulnerable people in society who may not always have a voice about their own needs. For everyone to remain a valued member of this society we must make sure that their voices are heard and their needs to remain independent as far as possible addressed.
Ann Clwyd MP in Wales talks about her view on home care
Compassion in health and social care is what we might commonly call a ‘given’. It is assumed and expected as a basic common courtesy. So why do we need to Develop a Culture of Compassionate Care ? Some might think that they are already doing it but this is dangerous to assume and every time we hear of another unnecessary death in health and social care we are reminded to stop and think about what we really are doing.
Unfortunately we only really recognise compassion when it is not there, otherwise known as compassion fatigue or burnout when people feel they can no longer cope with a situation. This can be observed when people back away, detach themselves, ignore and/or deny that there may be a problem. Being cheerful and even friendly is not going to help in this situation as it is just another form of denial. In order to demonstrate compassion then we need to demonstrate that we are genuinely involved in helping others and that we want to spend time with them for as long as it takes. Being compassionate doesn’t mean feeling sorry for another person or demonstrating pity as this can come across as paternalistic. People who are in need of our help intuitively recognise a compassionate person as someone who really listens to what they have to say and is prepared to do something that will help them to deal with the situation. If we really care about compassion we would be looking for ways to demonstrate it – every day of our lives.