Can We Take the Shame Out of Healthcare?

I’ve been in a bit of a theme recently with the worry posts, and I promise I’ll get back to that. Today’s post is completely off that track. It’s a reaction to things that I am hearing from my own clients and things that I am hearing from patient advocates online. I am hearing a lot about experiences of people feeling shamed and silenced in their healthcare experiences. This feels like a huge problem to me.

Some of our health is about our decisions. We can choose to eat healthy food, exercise regularly, participate in preventive care, manage our own diagnoses if we have them.

But not all of our health is about our decisions.

How many stories have you heard about folks who ate right, exercised, practiced prevention–and got cancer anyway? Or got rheumatoid arthritis anyway? Or experienced sudden coronary artery disease (SCAD) anyway? Because I’ve heard a lot of those stories.

The truth is, we still don’t understand all that much about how our bodies work. Yes, we understand so much more than we did fifty years ago. Or twenty years ago. Or ten years ago. But really, we are just scratching the surface of understanding what is going on in these complex systems we inhabit. We don’t know how much of health is genetic, or environmental, or decision based–not really.

We live in a culture that likes to have answers. We’re surrounded by promises that if we just use this product, or take that fitness class, we will be healthy and happy (oh, and probably thin, because we’re told that’s the only way to be healthy or happy).

Not only do we like answers, we like to have a sense of control. It is really frightening to think that you can make healthy choices, and still face serious illness. That’s not a reality that most people are comfortable with. It’s a little easier to blame serious health challenges on personal decisions. Truly, I’ve worked with folks who were told that their Type I diabetes (diagnosed before age six) was due to their dietary choices.

But not all of our health is about our decisions.

So, for a change this week, can we explore the idea that maybe health is more complicated than a single dimension? And can we look at the possibility that it is nearly impossible to shame someone into making good choices?

Can we offer compassion, connection and the kind of communication that really works toward change? Because that’s what I want in health care! How about you?

Advertisements

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on May 21, 2014 at 7:04 am

    I would have never imagined that sitting in judgment was ever an aspect of care. And yet, it does occur, as you’ve mentioned. How frequently it does is something about which I have no idea.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

davidwcovington.com

Beyond Behavioral Health

hcldr

Healthcare Leadership Blog

Figuring. Shit. Out.

life seems to dish it out. i seem to write about it.

wellfesto

hacking health, designing life

Just Talking Podcast

A free-flowing conversation with purpose. There's no pressure, we're Just Talking

A Consequence of Hypoglycemia.

What good is an incurable disease if you can’t share it with the rest of the world.

inDpendence

Sometimes Diabetes Takes Center Stage

regrounding

of chemo, cancer and facing life head-on

Dr Catherine Rose

Inspiring Hope

Telling Knots

About 30% of people diagnosed with breast cancer at any stage will develop distal metastasis. I am one.

Ann Becker-Schutte, Ph.D.

Help at the Intersection of Physical and Emotional Health

eatbreatherun

Eating, Running & Fighting Against Lung Cancer

Is it Possible?

Making it Possible in 10 steps or less!

Warm Southern Breeze

"... there is no such thing as nothing."

health communication source

curating the people & organizations that make health com happen

The Musings of a Cancer Research Advocate

It's All About the Evidence...

shadow7788

The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land!

Tonya Miles, PsyD

Mental Health Matters

The Pollock Group

Professional Psychology Services

Voice in Recovery (ViR)™

Prevention, Advocacy, Intervention, Recovery (PAIR)™

%d bloggers like this: