Building a Better Health Service


Bridging an Ocean with Kindness

Health problems of any kind generate uncertainty and none of us enjoy or are comfortable with unexpected breaks in our routine, the anxious wait for a test result or the sense of worry that our immediate plans might need to change.

A nurse manager shared a story about how she had an elderly gentleman in her care who was approaching the end of his life. This gentleman's next of kin was living in the US, and wasn't familiar with the legalities of his care and the Fair Deal system. She maintained very regular phone contact with the next of kin, to keep them informed, and to explain the now and next, about both the process and their relative's declining health.

Sadly, the gentleman passed away shortly after. When the next of kin arrived home from the States, their first port of call was to the care unit where they met the nurse manager for the first time, greeting her with a massive hug; such was their gratitude for the humanity with which they were treated throughout the difficult time. This staff member bridged an ocean with her kindness. The experience of uncertainty is one of the few certainties in health care but with clear and continued communication in our practice we can lessen the effect of this uncertainty for the people who use our services.