Mr. Ravindranath Gupta is a senior who faces loss of feeling and function in the limbs after his nerves were affected post a spinal surgery. From being completely bedridden to now walking with support, he has come a long way. It is 3 years since he is a client of Life Circle. He says that he is completely dependent on caregivers for mobility assistance, bathing and toileting. He talks to us about how a caregiver can support a patient’s dignity.

Good care-giving according to Mr Gupta

He was very open in telling us how loss of independence can be extremely frustrating. It makes him angry at times, but he calms himself down in a minute. Talking about the many caregivers that have served him over this period, he mentions that treating the patient with respect is the most important quality of not only caregiver but any health professional. Understanding the patient’s suffering and treating them with empathy affirms patient dignity.

His favourite caregiver was Premalatha Dhruva about whom he says “Main abhi bhi yaad kar leta hoon usko, bahut accha kaam karti thi, sweet baat karti thi, Bohot clever thi, bar bar batane ki zaroorat nahin.” (I think of her even now. She used to work very well, spoke very politely, was intelligent, and didn’t need to be checked constantly)

Occasionally, he suffers from bowel incontinence. Premalatha would maintain her calm composure through such situations and never let him feel awkward. He liked her because she looked at him beyond his condition and treated him like a “Person” and not a “Patient”. Though caregivers may be good at their job, some can be impersonal and mechanical.

Premalatha left her job at Life Circle to care for her own bedridden mother.

Losing independence is a common experience as people age and we should encourage seniors to accept help. There’s a quote by Maya Angelou “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, people will never forget how you made them feel” and that is the spirit of good care-giving.

We at Life Circle offer sensitive and compassionate care and understand the importance of upholding the dignity of each of our clients .

1. It is important to address the client with respect.

2. Caregivers must wish the client when they come in every morning and again before leaving in the evening

3. Respect the senior’s choices. E.g : Ask them , “What would you like to wear today? “, “Do you want to wash your hair today?” Respect the client’s choice of style – If they like their hair to be made in a certain way, wear a bindi, wear their choice of accessories etc

4. Patient is bound to be self-conscious while dressing / undressing. Make the situation less uncomfortable. Ask for consent, talk through while going about with the care activity.

5. Respect the dietary preferences of people.

6. Let the senior maintain his (or her) independence as much as possible by letting them indulge in different indoor and outdoor activities. E.g. – A senior may like doing pooja or praying or visiting a temple. Their wishes should be honored.

7. Don’t overhear conversations of sensitive and personal nature.

8. Listen actively when the senior speaks.

9. Life Circle solicits feedback from clients in an endeavor to uphold every client’s dignity.

About the author

Madhumita is a familial caregiver to her mother-in-law who lives with dementia and a full-time mom of a bubbly 3-year-old. She meets and interacts with Life Circle’s clients to understand various aspects of Geriatric care and care needs with the aim of serving our clients in a better way.

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