I am contemplating the possibility of a colonoscopy, and I visualised this morning asking the professionals involved to stop, just before undergoing the procedure. I wanted to express that though this may be routine to them, this was my body and very precious to me. Could we take a few seconds, a few deep breaths to be really present and mindful of what is happening? Can we set aside any other concerns and pressing responsibilities to be here now?
I realised as I imagined this how difficult it would be, for a patient to exert that sort of control. Hospital systems are set up so that patients - in a vulnerable state- are submissive to routines, and generally feel grateful for whatever is provided.
Increasing the heart in healthcare is as much about patients exerting some control over their bodies, as about healthcare professionals making the time to listen to them. We are all patients at sometime, and need to encourage ourselves to speak up for what would make us feel safe and cared for.
Thanks for writing. Yes, that's a very serious challenge. My last interaction with hospital services (as a patient) I found I was unable to call out to ask for a blanket, when reduced to a shivering wreck with pain, sleep deprivation, and cold - while left alone and near naked in a cold room.
Among our networks we have a number of inspiring health consumer leaders and they will become members of the HEARTS in HEALTHCARE community, in dialogue with the professionals. Some are working on ways to empower patients and not waiting for the professionals to change.
I believe there are many things patients could do to support their health professionals to be more compassionate. That's a strategy that my wife Meredith is really interested in exploring.Kind regards, Robin