Individuality & Person Centred Care in Asia

Since a fortnight ago this tweet have been shared over 29,000 times and 21,720. Tweeted by Harudajin, he shares an unforgettable experience in his youth in primary school when his teacher shared with his students the meaning of individuality.

The teacher explained that when an instruction is provided to have the class write the word 晴, then everyone in  the class will write the word 晴. However, the result of the word 晴 will differ slightly from each student. However if given an instruction to write the word 晴 and the student wrote the word 雨, that is not viewed as individuality.

Below is the original tweet:

There is a lot of discussion about a social culture in Asia and the differences between the cultures between the East and the West. Individuality in this discussion is working together as a social being, but at the same time appreciating and accepting the differences that we exhibit as individuals. No two handwriting can be exactly the same and despite our very similar daily routine and habits, it’s the small intricacies and preferences that make us all different. Here the teacher explains that we don’t have to radically stand out to be different, we can all be different and still maintain a sense of cohesion and harmony without our culture.

No two handwriting can be exactly the same. Despite our very similar daily routine and habits, it’s the small intricacies and preferences that make us all different. Here the teacher explains that we don’t have to radically stand out to be different, we can all be different and still maintain a sense of cohesion and harmony without our culture, and that’s what individuality is all about.

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For Asians, harmony and cohesion are important factors and at times residents, and patients may not voice out our needs as they may not wish to inconvenience their carers and caregivers.

At a talk a few months ago about the Fukushima earthquakes, it was said that older adults that sought shelter in a gymnasium developed incontinence issues and muscle atrophy. Afraid that they were being disruptive and inconsiderate to fellow residents living in the open space temporary shelter, many remained sitting in their allocated space, not going to toilets allocated outside of the gymnasium.

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Image source: Japan Earthquake: Rescue, Recovery, and Reaction – The Atlantic

This scenario is not unfamiliar to nurses working in acute care, step down facilities, nursing home and other community care facilities where families complain about their love ones developing incontinence and decreased mobility. It’s a common case study where you have a person coming out of the hospital with incontinence and decreased mobility and nurses and loved ones are concerned about falls resulting in the person spending the rest of their life sitting in wheelchairs. Being put on pads due to their incontinence issues, the person may not wish to venture out in the public, and participate in activities reducing their social engagements and decreasing movement. So starts a vicious downward spiral where mobility is lost and depression sets in.

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All it takes is for us to care; to ask and encourage. To encourage our residents and patients and engage with them socially and to support movement. To ask about their preferences and how we can encourage our residents and patients to retain their independence and to maintain their mobility. This is a community effort, from governments to management to directors of nursing to the nurses and the care staff, we need to make time to care. Our residents and patients make an effort to not inconvenience us isn’t care a priority in healthcare in the first place?Person-centred care in Asia isn’t about being indulgent

Person-centred care in Asia is not about indulging a persons’ need for choices or the ability to be drastically different from everyone. It is about celebrating and supporting individuality and autonomy whilst maintaining harmony and social cohesion in the community. A fine balance, not in the pursuit of happiness but in a pursuit of peace. To be satisfied with the balance in life that brings us peace within.

it’s not 兴高采烈 but a 幸福美满的生活 that we yearn for.

Reference: Handwriting

 

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