Following Harriet’s excellent blog for World Kindness Day in November, a few members of Team ASPH were involved in a conversation to see how we could indeed “start an epidemic” of kindness in our organisation and beyond.
It was from here that the idea of a Kindness Advent Calendar was born. You can access the advent calendar here and we hope you will join in the small acts of kindness throughout December. We hope that lots of people will embrace the idea and use the ‘season of goodwill’ as a spring-board to encourage some small acts amongst the ASPH community (at a time when we probably all need it most).
Little did I know that I, myself, would be on the receiving end of many of these small acts of kindness in the weeks that followed our discussions. It is a few of these that I’d like to share with you here, to demonstrate just how these seemingly small, simple and unremarkable acts can impact others.
These experiences occurred in another hospital, but I’m sure they occur every day at ASPH as well;
- The healthcare assistant (HCA) who took the time to introduce themselves, when so many others didn’t.
- The doctors who spent time with us; carefully explaining, taking responsibility, being open and honest – giving confidence in their care and medical decisions.
- The ward sister who took her workstation into the side room to sit with Dad while she did her off- duty – fulfilling his request not to be left alone.
- The bed that was quickly found to enable family to stay over night.
- The visiting rules that were broken to allow precious days and hours to be spent together.
- The HCAs who every day washed, shaved and dressed their patients, taking care to maintain their dignity and appearance.
- The visits from the therapy dog which calmed and cheered the patients and gave the relatives and staff something new to talk about.
- The Chaplaincy visits, invited and welcomed, never intrusive or over-zealous.
- The kind comments about Dad’s personality which had shone through, despite his condition.
- Therapists who tried to understand what Dad had been like at home, listening to and trusting in the family.
- A ‘nice’ coffee made with a personal supply, not “that nasty hospital stuff”!
- The HCA who patiently fixed the bed controls when the family had messed them up, again!
- Staff that shared tears, hugs and simply held our hands when this was needed.
So often, when thanking these individuals we heard “we’re just doing our job”, but there’s ‘doing your job’ and ‘doing’ your job, with kindness and compassion and this really does make all the difference to those you are caring for – patients and their families.
The ward manager that we encountered described her team as ‘a family’ and for a short while, we were welcomed into that family which made a very painful and difficult time all the more bearable and has left us with some lasting and fond memories.
Of course, the kindness I have experienced stretches far beyond the hospital where Dad was cared for; my own team here at ASPH and my family and friends have been amazing, offering practical support, a shoulder to cry on or the sensitivity to simply change the subject. Even if your role does not involve direct patient care, there are many kind things that you can do for your colleagues – offer an encouraging word or a listening ear over a coffee.
If you get a chance today, do something kind, nothing amazing, just a simple act and probably something that you do every day anyway. This time, stop and notice what you have done – your small act of kindness has just impacted someone’s life, not just for that moment, but forever. Your kindness can create a chain reaction for one act of kindness will lead to another – let’s start that epidemic!
We hope that our Kindness Advent Calendar will be an inspiration and we’d love to hear about any small acts of kindness you experience or carry out, please get in touch by email or Twitter using #AOK
Sally – @Sally2PT