Category Archives: Communication

The Hospital Visit Scale

Dear Readers:

Because of my many  trips to the hospital to visit family member or other loved ones,  I started to think about my variety of stress levels I experienced upon making an entry  or upon departing the hospital. One (1 ) being least stressful of visits, five (5) being most. My perspective is from being the primary caregiver of the hospitalized patient. General visitors are likely to be less stressed, except when they have first time entry into specialized units such as Burn Centers, Cancer Units, Pediatric NIC units.

 

I created The Hospital Visit Scale by Terry Prince 2016© to help visualize this.

 

hospital-visit-scale-v1

 

 

I am calling myself a Covert Hidden Hero. Covert because end stage caretakers of military disabled veterans are not necessarily the ones at the onset of a military disability.  From 2002 to 2013,  I served as my father’s primary caregiver. My father was a WWII veteran who lost his leg at age 20  (as well as hearing ability in one ear) in military service in 1944 from a V2Rocket while in Belgium.  He was British and in the RAF and deemed 80 percent disabled but was able to live a full life (marrying, pursuing a career in aerospace engineering, having 3 children, sailing and motorcycling). However in his late 70’s  his medical care became much more complex when his meniscus in his only “real” leg tore and he had to have surgery. In his later years he had stage 4 kidney disease with dialysis for 2 years (likely caused by high use of over- the- counter pain medication for his osteoarthritis in his remaining leg and normal use of prescription medicine when he had phantom pains in his missing leg), neuropathy, steroid induced type II diabetes and heart issues. My father in his last 4 years of life had an annual average of 2 major hospital visits (all exceeding 1 week), with follow on transitional care in rehabilitation facilities and follow on skilled nursing either in home or in a facility.  He had at least 12 doctors or specialist services  (primary PPO Doctor, Cardiologist, Neurologist, Nephrologist(kidney)  Pulmonary, Orthopedist, eye doctor, audiologist, dermatologist, US Veteran System Primary Doctor, Sleep Apnea Specialist, Wound Care Clinician, Anticoagulation Clinic)  as well as many revolving hospitalists each time he was hospitalized.  

Having experienced hospitalization exceeding 10 months of a loved one in many ways, in many different times and hospital settings, I feel confident that this scale reflects most of the instances of hospitalization. But I am open to suggestions, any thoughts out there?

 

 

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The Three Losses in Five Years Syndrome

Over the past 10 years, I have come across a subset of individuals who begin a sudden onset of chronic disorganization. These are individuals who are serving as family caretakers who have experienced at least three significant losses in their life over the span of 5 years. This subset has usually served as primary caretaker for either parent(s), spouse or sibling(s). Many of them also serve as the executor of one or more of these estates. Many of these individuals seem to take about 7 to 12 years after the final loss to come to terms with this in their life.

What I would like to see is a more active approach to treating this, more on the onset prevention than as an after effect treatment.

It would be beneficial to have physicians and their staffs work to identify caretakers who are already at two losses in five years, and encourage them to get additional support through grief counseling, caretaker support group participation and for those financially able, consider the services of a skilled professional organizer. A skilled professional organizer can do wonders to help the “primary caretaker client ” in terms of time management, goal setting, project planning and management. Many professional organizers can help establish bill paying and document management systems to handle the growing paperwork that complex and long-term medical conditions usually entail as well as documents for estates probate. A professional organizer can help the client simplify his or her life and environment as well as serve as a body double for difficult and often procrastinated tasks.

While a professional organizers services are not inexpensive, they are a valuable tool that may help the primary caretaker live a more vibrant and fulfilling life while and after experiencing heavy losses in their life.

The Three Losses in 5 Years are primarily death losses. For some, however, one of those losses can be the loss of a pet, divorce or significant job loss.

I believe more research and education is needed in this area. Let’s hope that this syndrome can be more clearly understood and helpful strategies for success developed and promoted to the general public.

 

This is a best of post

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Humor and Productivity

Sometimes you just need to laugh. Laughter is, after all, the best medicine. Medical experts have found laughter stimulates blood flow, reduces stress and can actually lower your blood pressure.

Over the years I have become aware that my life is just better if I don’t take myself too seriously. Our clients also benefit from our humor. It uplifts their spirits and has a beneficial effect making them more productive.

While looking at humor I realized there are at least 3 ways in our organizing businesses we deal with humor; first humor with self, then with clients, and finally, with our colleagues.

Humor with Self

Sometimes as organizers, coaches and consultants we tend to think of ourselves as needing to perfectly embody the heart and soul of our profession. I think we all have our foibles and areas of disorganization. My specialty is a compulsion to collect and maintain an extensive lipstick collection. The other day I had 12, a few months ago while on a 2-night vacation I tallied 17.

Now most of you that have actually seen me in person may realize my lipstick is not always apparent. How can this be? I am, unfortunately, not yet skilled at continuous and productive lipstick application. I might need a course in this.

In my office I have a series of humorous organizing cards I have collected over the years. One features a woman with a cluttered desk, 2 pair of glasses on her head and lots of interesting “stuff”. The inside of the card says, “Just as soon as I get organized.” Having this in my office makes me smile and is especially helpful now that I have transitioned to reading glasses. Put up some fun stuff in your office to provide some comic relief.

Humor with Clients

Using humor with your clients can bring a touch of levity on a tough subject, or a break from the monotony or stress of a situation. A well placed humorous remark can bring a much-needed smile and defuse a moment of anxiety. Clients, like employees, work better in a happy state rather than a depressed one.

It actually helps to admit a few (note – I say few not all!) of your areas of disorganization to your clients. This allows your clients to realize that you, the expert, are not perfect and have your areas of shortcomings. This helps to diffuse judgment later on when you end up being five minutes late or temporarily mislay a document.

Take some time to laugh with your clients and colleagues and finally start laughing at yourself. You will find that you create a more productive and enjoyable environment.

 

This is a revised best of post – you might also enjoy: 

Routine Reflections

 

 

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Time for Kudos

Kudos means a praising remark. We all like to be appreciated and acknowledged for our work or contributions. Let’s spend some time exploring kudos.

Why Give Kudos

There are a few reasons to give kudos. First, we all like to be acknowledged and appreciated. Second, appreciating someone’s work or efforts can sometimes be the catalyst to develop or deepen a new or existing personal or work relationship. Third, kudos are sometimes the sustaining embers in people’s lives.

How to Give Kudos

Kudos can be verbal or written. Kudos can be physically given as in a handwritten note, card or with a small token gift. Kudos can also be given via an email or on a blog posting can be made from time to time.

Receiving Kudos

It is nice to receive kudos. Kudos can be put up on a bulletin board or display shelf. Verbal kudos can be transformed to penned lines and inserted into an appreciation journal.

Appreciating the Giver of the Kudos

It is polite to acknowledge the sender for their sentiments or gifts, either by verbalizing your appreciation or by sending an acknowledging note.

Making Kudos Part of Your Routine

Take time to routinely reflect and send appropriate kudos to those around you. Kudos giving can be a nice break in a full or busy week. Kudos giving makes us look outside of ourselves, which can be helpful when we are too inward thinking.

Who can you give kudos to in your life?

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Make Time for Kudos

Kudos means a praising remark.  We all like to be appreciated and acknowledged for our work or contributions.  Let’s spend some time exploring kudos.

Why Give Kudos

There are a few reasons to give kudos. First, we all like to be acknowledged and appreciated. Second, appreciating someone’s work or efforts can sometimes be the catalyst to develop or deepen a new or existing personal or work relationship. Third, kudos are sometimes the sustaining embers in people’s lives.

How to Give Kudos

Kudos can be verbal or written. Kudos  can be physically given as in a handwritten note, card or with a small token gift.  Kudos can also be given via an email or on a blog posting can be made from time to time.

Receiving Kudos

It is nice to receive kudos. Kudos can be put up on a bulletin board or display shelf. Verbal kudos can be transformed to penned lines and  inserted into an appreciation journal.

Appreciating the Giver of the  Kudos

It is polite to acknowledge the sender for their sentiments or gifts, either by verbalizing your appreciation or by sending an acknowledging note.

Making Kudos Part of Your Routine

Take time to routinely reflect and send appropriate kudos to those around you. Kudos giving can be a nice break in a full or busy week.  Kudos giving makes us look outside of ourselves, which can be helpful when we are too inward thinking.

Who can you give kudos to in your life?

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Filed under Client Management Strategies, Communication, Communication Strategies, Philosophy, Terms, Thinking

Rushing – All in Your Mind?

Last week I covered the physical reasons for rushing – now I want to cover the other causes of rushing a project or activity, along with some preventive strategies.

We tend to start rushing if we find we were spending too much time in our “head”  concentrating on something else and need to catch up. The key here is to first acknowledge that you have been unavailable and then secondly work out a schedule to complete your task safety and productively.

The second reason for rushing can also be caused by allowing ourselves to  follow the pace of others. This can be dangerous and have less effective results. Again the key is to first acknowledge that you are “doing this”. You might identify the “doing of this” by observing your talking speed or your walking pace. If you find yourself speeding up your voice pace or copying the walking or movement pace of your client or co-worker you have likely caught their rushing bug. After observing and identifying your case of rushing, it is time to take a deep breath and physically slow your pace down. A short five-minute water break might be in order to help you go back to the more normal calmer state of your being. Your client will likely be able to use the break to slow themselves down.

Rushing is a way to create problems for yourself, your company or client. By being aware and understanding how rushing can affect you or your client,  you can consciously work to avoid it. This will allow you to create a more productive,  safer and calmer working relationship and working environment.

Link to earlier Stop Rushing post.

This is a best of post from 2010.

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Screen Free Days

Have you thought about how it would be to have a “screen free day”. Since I have become the proud owner of an IPhone,  I am finding this harder to do. I can even reduce myself to playing solitaire. There is always something fun and interesting to check out besides phone messages and texts. Now there is potential email, Words with Friends and when in a networked area, the whole world wide web to explore. We are becoming screen sucked (excuse my language but that is a word used by experts these days). Screen Sucked was introduced in the 2007 book CrazyBusy by Edward Halloway. Screens are pulling the life out of us.  Halloway says – Held by a mysterious force, a person can sit long after the work has been done or the show he wanted to watch is over, absently glommed on to the screen, not especially enjoying what he is doing but not able to disconnect and turn off the machine.

What have you been doing to prevent excessive hours of screen time?

I have found using the timer apps (available on IPhones and smartphones) can help one be more aware of potential time breaks.  I have been attempting to avoid morning screens. Now I have gone back to reading an actual newspaper or non fiction book in paper format. This helps me start my day in clearer form.

I’d love to hear more suggestions.

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