Bad Press in the Care Sector (Working title) or Happy Death?
Any news is good news! Right? WRONG. If you are in the care sector and in the news then it's probably going to be bad news. Lots of bashing, some of it deservedly but there is also a lot of good happening too.
So I have decided to support my lovely friends in the Care sector as I can not believe ALL these people have such a bad reputation in every home, end of. Someone has to start voicing the good stories.
Working with leaders and managers in the sector has brought me such great joy, especially as they tell stories of their experiences with their "ladies" (you are not allowed to call the customers, "ladies" as CQC have told them it is disrespectful! See earlier blogs about common sense).
One after the other, in a room full of experts, stories were being told of life changing moments in their workplaces, tears were streaming down the faces of the story tellers, who were clearly passionate about their stories and how they had arrived to this moment in time. Then it was the time for the quieter one to speak up, lets call her Sarah. It went like this:-
"I lost five of my ladies this week!" A huge gasp around the room. Quickly she reassured us, and said it was ok, they had all died of old age. When I recall the moment, I can't remember anyone else being present. just a spotlight on Sarah. Her face simply lit up with love and joy.
In the space of one week, in this small but delightful care home, five old ladies died. Sarah then goes into more detail, that each death went as well as could be expected. They were ALL surrounded by care and love and all died with someone there at their sides.
Silence. Pin drop silence.
Eventually I said "were they friends?" Yes, they were, and what's more is that they loved a sherry together.
So, all I could see in my mind was the five of them, sitting on a cloud somewhere, being peaceful and laughing and sipping on their nips of sherry.
So tell me how awful that was?
A group of friends died together, happy, content, old and loved. They died happy. Isn't that what we all want? To go through life, enjoying the highs and lows, but mostly, they died loved and there are lovely people telling their stories.
Adult health and social care have a double hit though, not only to they lose a "customer", they lose the customers' families too. Suddenly all the engagement ends and that is hard for anyone.
So what is the moral of this particular story?
I have got to know the staff of this home and I have to say, they are all gorgeous, some are related, all of them are friends and support each other in life, as well as work. Their boss cares about them and wants them to be the best that they can be. You feel the love when you walk in the home. The staff are called "The Girls" the customers are called "The Ladies" It all feels like family to me.
So for every negative, there is always a positive and somebody, somewhere is having a great experience in a home. That person is being cared for and having time spent with them, they are being heard and are having attention paid to them.
Social workers get bad press yet surely we all share the same social values? Surely looking after someones welfare is at the heart of the matter? Too often do I observe the divides within the sectors that care. The culture of blame. The souls at the coalface have been skewed with stigma, political opinions and low morale, sending negative messages out and often to the wrong people.
We are too busy being busy, to think about how it all ends for us, and when it all ends for us. It is not a subject that we bring up but it is guaranteed to happen. So I ask you to respond, what is your death going to be like? Lets hope it is peaceful, with love and you are no longer afraid.
So maybe a shout out to those who are having a positive experience. Let the good win.
Have a Happy Death x