You walk by yourself in to a nursing facility; maybe for the first time or the 2000th time.
The staff there may want too little or too much from you - ‘I’m busy; leave me alone,’ their body language might suggest – or an urgent situation may need instant resolution.
But you are not alone. You walk under the banner of the Dove, the Heart, and the Olive Branch.
Each day and in each interaction – whether with a resident, a family member, or a worker allows opportunities to bring some measure of peace to calm an anxious situation, or to compassionately address a broken heart, or to promote reconciliation and understanding.
And your larger New England Geriatrics team is as near as your pocket – through text, phone, or e-mail to assist and advise and encourage you as you bring serenity and courage and new hope to others in the grip of distress.
It is a worthy challenge to take up that NEG banner and to fight forward every day against loneliness and hopelessness and fear.
It is rewarding to join with this cadre of clinicians in a rigorous and thoughtful and caring commitment to attend to the manifold and often messy array of medical and life problems impacting on the residents and their family members and the facility caregivers.
The approach of your NEG name tag should be a sign of calm and endurance and encouragement coming close to the human suffering inside that home of healing.
Tom Medlar, MA, LMHC
July, 2014 (the month of my 12th anniversary with New England Geriatrics)