I worked at the hospital yesterday. It is not uncommon for me to spend extra time motivating and gently encouraging py patients to participate in therapy. I have found through my many years of being an occupational therapist, that a automatically decline to participate with a therapist has much more to do than just a complaint of “being tired”, or angry at their situation, or regret, or pain, or many other reasons. Sometimes, it can also be all of these reasons at once too.
My patient yesterday, declined to work with me. This is when I gently ask if there is anything I can get her, perhaps the nurse to medicate, some water (if they are allowed), positioning their arms or legs more comfotably? Since many of my patients are trauma patients or severe illlness in ICU or neurology floors, they often can not move themsleves independantly.
This patient seemed calm, quiet, but she simply declined. I offered to help her get to the side of the bed, ‘for a chance to look around in a new position, upright’. She had extensive surgery in her lower body area, which made it very painful and difficult to sit upright without a lot of assistance, but I slowly gained her trust and we began to move, slowly moving her legs the edge, then lifting her torso, supporting her shoulders. After 20 minutes to get to sitting. She sighed and began to cry. I asked why she was crying. She told me that she had been refusing to work with therapists because she felt rushed and hurried and embarrased of her extensive surgery area around her buttocks and inner thigh area due to severe infection, a flesh eating bacteria.
I had her sit upright, slightly shifting left and right to reduce pressure and decrease pain. She did well. She tolerated 10 minutes sitting upright. The best thing of this session, she found courage to try, now she will feel more confident to keep trying. She was so thankful and appreciative.
Having been on the other side of the hospital bed rails, as my patients are, has hightened my level of compassion to a level that somebody who has never been hospitalized. Every time I work my compassion is always on high alert.
Stay healthy my friends,