Lifelong Learning Programme

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Personal Experience

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Filial love

Language: English
Country: Italy
Typology: health care professionals
Apparently, it is an afternoon like all the others in the surgery room. There, together with his son there is an elderly patient, who has undergone cataract surgery and has problems of dementia. He suddenly has a crisis and rises against the nurses. He refuses to take off the peripheral venous cannula. He turns to me and says: "You can not touch me without my consent! Go away!". I try to make him reason but in vain, while his son tries to convince him quietly. Since the situation can not be resolved, I tell his son to remove himself the PVC of his father, and I leave them alone for a moment. Just a few minutes after, the patient arrives, without cannula, I discharge him and ask his son if he wants me to accompany him to the exit and he agrees. As we walk towards the exit, in front of the elevator the father turns to his son and says: "Why are you doing it, why have you put yourself in this situation?". His son answers him in an extremely quiet and simple way: "I am doing it because you are my dad. I love you. Mom told me to bring you back home. Let’s go.". This case has questioned my professional capacity to address and solve all the patient’s problems. I have taken a step backward and I have realized that the son is the only one who can deal with his father because he knows him very well, much better than I do because I have seen him for just a few hours. Patients with dementia have a sensibility that goes beyond our understanding. This guy has been amazing: how much kindness, patience and love towards such an aggressive father. This has taught me that such complex patients can be treated only with kindness, patience and understanding.

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