Thursday, March 31, 2011

We do much research in healthcare and ignore most of it

People, like our Ontario health minister, celebrate the actions of politicians, yet the media manage to ignore many of our stories. 

Getting publicity for autobiographies is terribly difficult in Canada. I have spoken at Palliative Care Conferences, spoken to caregiver groups, spoken to the local Kiwanis club, and put my story out there.

I find a lot of (mis)information out there, and the politicians react to this information in various ways, depending upon whether they are the party in power or in opposition.

Sometimes, stories pop up in Twitter: interesting our provincial health minister is advertising on behalf of a blogger, and a journalist. 
For example:
 Deb Matthews 

Gr8 story re: Michael Kimber 25 yr.old fighting stigma by blogging re: mental health @@ 

Now, in my mind, a journalist isn't always the best source for health information, let alone a 25-year-old blogger, especially when sourced out by our health minister. It's like advertising a chat room!

There are many pros out there with information and facts, resources for those of us who face bereavement, depression, and other chronic health issues. I find that the health blogs I read can be dangerous. Look at the recent convictions for the nurse who convinced depressed teens to commit suicide.

Most of us are ignorant about health issues, then run screaming to the media, or our politicians, when our needs are not met.

Some of us write a book to help show ourselves where we have gone wrong, and how to overcome the difficulties is caring for failing family members. The research shows that journaling is a healthy way to come to terms with our stories.

My issues were deep: bereavement-induced depression, quitting work early with financial retirement penalties (typical of female caregivers), and a battle between myself and failing parents who denied their ill-health, and giving up a good job to move to help them.

I have found, in my journey around this province, that most of us ignore the deep impact of health issues on families. The 'C' word (cancer), and dementia, send people running. Once a loved one is stricken with a disease, the entire family is more at risk for social, emotional, psychological and physical health issues. I have long advocated for several things: facts from healthcare professionals, regulation of PSWs, and so on.

The first is a patient advocate for all.
Next, to hold support workers accountable and regulate training, professional development, and staffing.
There are Questions to ask your physician, especially your oncologist.

Speaking at Gravenhurst Seniors Club
 A recent article by the National Post: Weighing the merits of ‘never-say-die’ oncology exactly states the case I made in my book. Physicians who are in denial, as much as family members, or oncologists who withhold the truth from patients and family. GPs who do not send families to hospice and palliative care professionals, physicians who do not understand best nursing practices in palliative care.

Exchanging books with author
We need to understand the impact of Hospitalization on seniors. Preventing unneeded hospitalization is key.


Lis S. said...

There seems to be some text missing from this entry: i.e. "interesting our health minister is advertising on behalf of a"

... then you link to a Twitter post, but the connection you make is not entirely clear since the previous sentence is unfinished.

I have read some of Michael Kimber's blog posts and have found them insightful and thought-provoking, as well as courageous; presumably Ms. Matthews thought the same and that's why she Tweeted about it.

I'm not sure why you would suggest it's a negative thing to refer to Mr. Kimber's blog (just one of her many links), or why "especially when sourced out by our health minister"; surely more thoughtful discussion from diverse perspectives is a good thing, since healthcare is of vital concern to us all.

No doubt your autobiography has a lot of first-person insight, and in all likelihood you learned many things that many other people would find helpful, comforting and/or encouraging; perhaps Ms. Matthews would appreciate receiving a copy of your book.

Best of luck in your continued service to a very worthy cause.

Lis S. said...

Thank you for updating and editing your post, that has helped to clarify your point.

However, I have to take exception to a couple of things. First this:

"I find that the health blogs I read can be dangerous. Look at the recent convictions for the nurse who convinced depressed teens to commit suicide."

Those two sentences back to back are alarmingly misleading, since they imply that the "nurse" was participating on a health blog ... in fact, it was a "former" nurse who — because of his own mental health issues — posed as a suicidal female nurse who sought out other depressed individuals online to make "suicide pacts" with, specifically advising and encouraging people to hang themselves.

This has nothing whatsoever to do with health blogs!

Secondly, Twitter, blogs and other social media are now used by experts in all walks of life; self-directed, educated, passionate individuals are making vital contributions to our collective knowledge. While it's true that there is a lot of bad information out there (and as the story above illustrates, chat rooms can indeed turn out to be very dangerous places), there is also a great deal to be gained if we learn how to be discerning and separate the wheat from the chaff . The opportunity to educate ourselves with unprecedented access to generously shared expertise is one of the internet's most redeeming qualities.

Bloggers such as yourself and Michael Kimber bring unique and personal perspectives to the table, and either or both of you could prove to be invaluable resources depending on who is seeking out the information and their individual needs & concerns. Thanks to both of you for caring enough to contribute your time and effort to benefit us all.