Believe me. I’m always right. About me.
I was listening this week to a radio programme about personalising health and social care for people…
Reducing unnecessary hospital admissions…
Providing health care at home…
Treating people as capable of deciding how they wanted to live and deal with risks…
And I was electrified when I heard something that went like this:
“You’re always right about yourself. No one else can know how you feel, what you enjoy and fear, what makes life worthwhile. Everyone else is always wrong.”
I may be meandering back to my theme of who knows best? Nothing about us without us, but I’ll pursue it a little further.
Professionals, i.e. people employed and hopefully trained to do specific jobs in health and care, are expected by us all to know stuff. We need to trust them with our lives and bodies.
Trouble is, these professionals have high levels of risk aversion. They fear allowing people like me to take risks with our lives.
The example on the radio was of a person who was unsteady and frail, but who really did not want a Zimmer frame. And wouldn’t use it if provided. What do you do? You can’t just ship them into a care home! Nor should you.
What you do do is help the person in other ways to move around as safely as possible. A few little tips and tricks. Some exercises perhaps. And you let them get on with their lives as they choose.
Do you insist that someone stops having their gin or beer in the evening? Well, not if that is what allows them a degree of wellbeing.
But of course health professionals don’t like this. Understandably, as a result of their training. And they have to fight their instincts to stop this paternalistic behaviour.
We want you to give us the appropriate medical advice and care choices, but you must let us decide whether we want to accept them. We must make our own choices.
Professionals, you may be able to look after us, but don’t impose yourselves on us. Don’t try to wrap us up.
We probably won’t take stupid risks, any more than anyone else does. And they do!
But that’s our choice.
And remember, we are always right about ourselves and how we want to live our lives.
It’s our choice. Not yours. Please help us to live as we choose.
And please don’t design services for us which we don’t want.
Better still, provide services that we do want and value. Like peer support groups.