Dignity in Care
The Human Side of Medicine
No one goes into healthcare with the intention of hurting people, or wanting to come off as callous, cold, or unfeeling. Fortunately, most people working in healthcare understand that kindness and compassion are key, even foundational to success in the care they provide to patients and families. And yet, all too often, there are instances when contact with healthcare is tainted by experiences ranging from vaguely annoying or abrasive to outright emotionally assaultive. Patients may confront experiences that chip away at their sense of pride and personhood; this can be as subtle as being kept waiting for an appointment, as insidious as being required to wear a plastic hospital bracelet that tracks them according to an institutional number or code, as jarring as being referred to as an aberrant body part - the proverbial "GI bleed in room two" or "breast tumor in room three." Dignity in Care aims to provide readers with what they need to know about the humanity of care and the tone of care; and how they can engage in these facets of care in a thoughtful and meaningful way that will satisfy their patients' needs to be seen and appreciated as "whole persons." The author will explore how the humanity of care can get overlooked and how to avoid this happening. It will teach how to communicate better with patients, helping them to feel not just cared for, but cared about. Sir William Osler said, "The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease." Dignity in Care applies this outlook to all of healthcare, because many people can gain technical competency, but success within healthcare requires more.
About this Author
Harvey Max Chochinov is a Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Manitoba and a Senior Scientist at the CancerCare Manitoba Research Institute.His more than 300 career publications have broached diverse topics such as communication, depression, quality-of-life, suicide, vulnerability, spirituality, and existential distress towards end-of-life. He has also led a large program of research targeting issues related to dignity within the healthcare setting.
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