We all have different ideas about what might be ‘worth the risk’, but the Butterfly approach is always to consider the benefits first for that individual rather than to go straight to the ‘problems’ or reasons why something can’t happen. Here, Georgia and Mandy share their own experiences of positive risk taking and what they are learning about what matters most.
Following your dreams
I’ve recently become a Nursing Associate and it’s been a lovely way to learn what’s most important about person-centred care at Landermeads.
I remember one woman, Rose, who repeatedly said, “before I die, please take me swimming.” She had deteriorated quite quickly physically so her mobility was really limited. I think I was quite naïve to be honest as I thought it would be really easy to make her dream come true. But I hadn’t realised how much planning it would take. We had to do a really detailed risk assessment, to check with her GP and for her son and daughter to document they were in agreement. When we took her to the pool, we had to use a hoisting chair to lower her in the pool, but thankfully she was able to walk in the water more easily. We were both in the pool with her to offer support and it was quite nerve wracking. She walked two whole lengths of the pool and then said, “I’m done now!” She was in control of the experience, and I think we really helped her feel that. When we got out of the pool, we went to McDonald’s for chips and ice-cream! Sometimes, when I see Rose now, I say “I’m Georgia, I took you swimming!” and she still remembers that. I’m so glad we didn’t just give up and say it wasn’t possible.
When I was training, I did placements elsewhere that were so different to Landermeads. I could never get used to the way people were reduced to numbers – “Have you done Bed 4?” when I was always thinking about the person – the individual, not the ‘bed’. It’s hard when you are a student, as you don’t really have the power to challenge things even when you know things aren’t right. We are so emotionally led here that I think I’d find it hard to work in another nursing home which doesn’t follow that approach. Thinking about the example of taking Rose swimming, it made me think a lot about what it takes to help people do the things they want to do, as it is never too late. I hope that I will continue to learn and help others follow their dreams.
Who’s in charge here?
Janice used to be a school teacher. She loves to be active with crafty type activities and one thing she seems to really enjoy is cutting up boxes with scissors and sometimes we fill up the boxes with materials that she can also cut up. So many care environments would not allow people living with dementia to use scissors, but just because she has a dementia doesn’t mean she isn’t competent. She was sitting just outside my office, so I could obviously keep an eye out, but she was totally busy and happy for at least half an hour.
The funny thing is Janice will sometimes tell me off for taking too many risks! For example, I recently brought in my 6-week old grandchild, who is very tiny. I was very happy for him to be passed around to various people to hold and have a cuddle. But Janice was not happy about it as she thought it wasn’t safe for him. As someone with many years of experience with children, she was keen to let me know her opinion!