The Power of Touch

hands-compassion (1)


Once again I received another ‘on the job’ lesson in how to care for people via the nursing home today. I was visiting Bob (Dad) as he had been striking out at a carer, and I was in ‘re-direction mode’ and we were heading for the sanctuary of his room to calm things down. On the way I heard a scream from a nurse as a glass and bowl broke in the dining room. I looked across to see some broken crockery and glass on the floor. A few seconds later I heard another scream from the nurse and she turned to find a very frail female resident had fallen and her head had hit a sharp ledge on a window frame.

The scene was really traumatic and I heard the lady hit the floor so I decided to leave Dad and try and help out. I felt quite useless as I have no medical background so I decided to concentrate solely on the resident’s well being & state of mind. I ran around to get wet flannels and some pillows for the nurse then simply comforted the lady by holding her hand (using the Teepa Snow grip) which I had recently learnt about. The nursing staff arranged for a lifter to get her into a wheelchair, and some bandaging for the lady’s head which was bleeding quite badly. I simply tried to keep out of the way whilst just trying to re-assure the resident that “Everything will be ok”. Right in the middle of all the panic another female resident yells out to me from her table “Excuse me..Excuse me….Can you get me a biscuit?”. I put on my most patient voice and said “no problem…I won’t be long”.🙂

The injured lady was ever so polite and was constantly talking to me and thanking me for holding her hand. I applied some palm pressure throughout (as I was told this is comforting) and I was amazed when she then said to me “Thank you ever so much for being with me, the way you are placing gentle pressure on my hand is making me feel very re-assured”.

are you serious?………

Here is this poor woman in complete shock and pain, verbalizing how she felt about the ‘hand holding’ as though she was giving me a live tutorial on how to comfort someone who has fallen. I stayed with her until we had her back in her bed and I just sat with her (still holding her hand) and watched her go off to sleep, then left the room.

I am sharing this story as I continue to be involved in these incidents and be taught so many valuable practical lessons as though it is meant to be…..bizarre. It taught me that having a re-assuring voice amongst the mayhem can soothe the injured person and sometimes ‘little things matter’, and that the power of touch is very powerful indeed.

As I walked back to Dad (who was asleep in a chair) another female resident came up to me with a look of horror on her face. I said to her “Tell me what’s wrong Mavis?” She couldn’t speak and was shaking her head…..Then from her body language I could tell she was in shock from witnessing the other lady fall. She was worried about her and was reacting to the situation. I reassured her that the lady who fell will be ok and the doctor is checking on her. I then asked her if she would like to have some ‘quiet time’ and have a rest, and she said “yes please” and I walked her back to her room. She also was really appreciative that her concerns were re-assured.

Once again another valuable lesson in human behaviour…when someone falls we need to check on ALL the residents to make sure they are ok (and not in shock) as well.
After all the excitement & life lessons – I went home and fell asleep..ZZZZZZZZZZ

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