Healing routines, humanizing routines… By Concha Zaforteza
A few days ago a patient has made me thinking about an aspect of the humanization that healthcare professionals have forgotten. And he is not one patient either: he is Carles Capdevila, journalist and founder of the newspaper Ara, from his column in this publication. It is a very special thought.
Carles Capdevila is going through an oncological process. I don’t know the details, but by the content of his writing, I infer that he is receiving some type of treatment that has kept him away from his routines, routines that he is now recovering. And there is the quiz of the matter.
He puts the focus in that things ICU practitioners are forgetting: the importance of everyday life and the importance of social support. His article, I recommend strongly, is entitled The pleasure of returning to the happy daily routine (only available in catalonian) and to me there are some phrases that shake gently to me, but shake. And they squeeze my heart.
Capdevila explains that he has returned to work at the newspaper, to write. According to his own words, “the quiet tenderness of things of every day” gives safety and that, although “you take risks daily”, the fact of being among friends and know that “playing on your ground” makes you to be quiet. And ends his text with a “welcome live routine”. There is that.
From my point of view, this also can be applied to the critical patient and their families. We all know this: the ICU, as a general rule, separates the patient of those routines and social support.
Therefore, a person in a situation already hard, we removed some of the sticks that hold them. And speaking of routines and social networks also speaking of less tangible things such as regular conversations, shared silence, companies, rituals… Because immersing in everyday life support us to keep the head on our shoulders.
Everyday life lessens the wonderful situations, routine helps you manage stress, decreases the excess of stimuli that put us in state of alert, at least tiring. And friends, colleagues, our loved ones tend to have the ability to make us feel that it will not happend anythig bad. Almost nothing.
And I wonder, the care professionals of the critical ill patient, are we aware of this reality? I suspect we are not. Years ago, in a project for promoting attention to the relatives of the ICU patient, one of the actions developed was the extension of visiting policy. A professional complained that the husband of a patient arrived, sat next to her and both got to read all afternoon, “..why does he come if he doesn´t pay attention to her wife?”. “Perhaps this is the way they spend the afternoon at home” – someone thought -. What a good new to continue with their dynamics, signal that they are comfortable”.
Therefore, my proposal is to seek how we can helpt our users to bring their routines to the ICU. Some more feasible, however small that seem to us, from visits to sketchbooks, from prints to warm infusions of that “mix mint” that likes so much to Mary, the patient admitted at box 7. Or music, or the tablet with the dropbox with photos of grandchildren. I do not think it necessary to do any research looking for the benefits of all this.
We simply should apply common sense, shouldn´t we?
Head of Nursing