A very good friend sent me a link today to a TEDxGlasgow talk given by Jason Leitch and uploaded to TEDx in June of this year.
His basic premis is that it’s time we started using a new vital sign when caring for people, one that demonstrates empathy and compassion. This concept started in healthcare in Scotland and has now spread internationally and into other caring professions, such as education.
Some of you may remember my post on the loss of compassion in healthcare. I personally, think that Jason’s talk describing examples of using “What matters to you?” would be a phenomenal start to bringing back compassion in healthcare.
To be fair, more recently than my post on the loss of compassion I have been privileged to have been treated by healthcare professionals who have demonstrated compassion. Interestingly, while they may not have quite used the same words they did focus on which of my many symptoms was the most important for me; rather than just focusing on the ones that they could readily deal with. As a result, I now have a voice that is slowly becoming more dependable and consistent. I have probable answers as to what has been the cause of many of my health concerns and while, we don’t yet have solutions for much of them, other than time, I feel better understood.
It’s a very scary life to know that whenever you step outside you are literally placing your life at risk due to incredibly sensitive allergies and reactions.
What has helped me the most with dealing with this new reality of mine is gaining a voice back, literally. For I now know, that if the worse happens, that I can tell people what I need and how they can help. It may not be easy and my voice might not last as long as I’d like but the gift of communication is immense, especially for somebody who is deaf to begin with and not fluent in ASL (Not that that would help in most emergency situations as most people are not fluent in ASL either).
So today I ask you, whether you work in a caring profession or not, to ask those you care for “What matters to you?”
I’d also ask that you think about the answer for yourself. Right now, at this moment, in the run up to Christmas and all that that entails:
What matters to me?