Monday, February 8, 2010

Grief and Loss

Today we had an inservice which was very valuable.
Grief and Loss - Increasing awareness of people we are working with.
Loss is so broad, weather its loosing a loved one, loosing the ability to drive, to partake in occupations, or a simple abilities like memory, writing neatly.
I had an experience today which i was able to use awareness in the situation, shortly after the inservice.
My patient, 83 year old man who had had a fall 2 weeks ago, and had come in with a w/o of his shoulder joint as it had become septic. This man has a complex medical hx, including sensation loss in his feet, weakness in one of his legs, heart problems, and multiple joint replacements. His life had changed over the last few years, he talked about how he couldn't "do" what he use to do e.g. household tasks, bowls, socializing at other peoples houses because he couldn't access them or use their toilets.
I pondered on the things he was telling me, all these things that he use to be able to do, but now needed assistance with, or others had to do. Then it really made me realize how much of an impact an injury has on peoples well-beings, how complex and frustrating life can be for people.
I talked this over with him, emphasising with him, saying how much of an impact an injury or illness can have and it made me realize how anxious he was about his living arrangements.
I have further reflected on this situation.
This patient reported to me initially that he had no concerns about going home, and that he had all support necessary for d/c.
But because i went another layer down, specific to his occupations and leisure activities, i was able to uncover that he underneath he was very frustrated, and by acknowledging this with him, he opened up by giving me further detail into how his wife had been coping with doing the household tasks over the past few months.
I uncovered that she may have been very frustrated (reports from patient) that he couldn't help up as much anymore, and that it was causing stress on there relationship.
Something I plan on talking with the social worker about, hoping but not guaranteeing there is anything that could help the situation as they have 2hr HH already.
Its a shame, an 80 odd year old couple, living independently together, but struggling to manage and unable to get any more support unless privately funded.

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