Lifelong Learning Programme

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Personal Experience

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Very good job.

Ingrid Karkó
Language: English
Country: Slovakia
Typology: health care professionals
Mr. Robert has been retired for only one year so far. He lives an active life, meets with his colleagues a lot and still occasionally works in his profession. He is an expert in sociology. He lives in an apartment with his wife. He likes to cook and visit his garden. The only thing that complicates his life is the chronic non healing wounds on his shins. The doctors explained to him the problem is related to diabetes. He has been treated for diabetes in the past few years. Robert is 66 years old, he was very successful in his life. He met his wife during the college. They have a career in common and 2 children and 4 grandchildren. Robert travels a lot and participates at professional conferences. But for a few months he has been dealing with wounds that cannot heal properly, they hurt and are with inflammation. At his tibia there are weeping wounds, which hurt and do not heal. He needs rebinding every day. Dermatologist trained Robert’s wife so she can do rebinding at home and they do not need to travel to the city on daily basis. Robert has already been hospitalized a few times because of the wounds and he needed to take antibiotics. Tissue in the wounds is necrotic and wounds are deep to the bone. Despite the proper treatment the wounds worsen so much that doctor proposed amputation of the right tibia. Robert told doctor that he has the right to refuse the operation. The doctor had a talk with Robert in which he admitted his right but also explained to him why he decided for amputation and what are the risks connected with refusing the operation. They agreed together with the doctor on the hospitalization because the wounds need to be healed and he also needs antibiotics. That is also the time when Robert has to decide whether he will undertake the operation or not. Robert talked through the whole thing with his wife and son. He understands that the amputation is inevitable to save his life but he cannot imagine his life without one leg. He is helpless, frightened and it seems to him that his world is falling apart. A nurse at the department knows about Robert’s situation and she offers him a talk about amputation when she will be doing night shift so they will have more privacy. She talks about it as if it was normal and that is what takes Robert’s interest. She does not look at him with knowingly, she does not even sorry him, she just offers him to think about the situation while talking with her. She leads his thinking toward the future and diverts him from gloom. She gives him a time to think whether he wants to talk with her or not. On the other day, during the night shift Robert wants to talk with her. He tells her about his life and about the fact that he cannot imagine his life without the leg. The nurse explains details to him. She talks about the importance of the amputation, how it heals, and how to use prothesis. She talks about other people sporting with prothesis. After the talk Robert feels better. Later they have also another talk about the amputation. The nurse takes him to the department where patients after similar operations learn to walk again. She also arranges a meeting with her “old friend”. It is a young man whose leg needed amputation because of the accident and he did not give up. Continuously Robert reconciles with the inevitable and the nurse help him to think about all the possibilities and how to keep his habits and independence. She plays him videos with people who talk about their live with prosthesis. In a few days Robert can joke when talking about the advantages of one leg. The nurse uses also Robert’s profession. Because as a sociologist he knows that people are very adaptable to similar conditions. Robert decides to undergo the operation and he already has plans about getting a prosthesis which will have more advantages than his hurt leg. OBJECTIVES: Support Robert in the inevitable decision which can change the quality of his life. Prepare Robert for a surgery and the life after amputation. MEANS AND STRATEGY: Active listening, space for expressing worries, make his expectations more real, offer all necessary professional information, emotional support, managing a support group with similar experience. CONCLUSIONS: Robert reconciled with the necessary and now plans how he will arrange his life in order to keep enjoying it.

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