Institutional kindness

From an outsider’s perspective, it seems nursing homes, psych-wards, and to a lesser extent – hospitals (in general) share a common theme: much of the staff dispense kindness as if it comes in a box from the supply room. I don’t say this because I think these are bad people. I’m sure a big part of it is the environment… cue to the reader… this is my main point. Perhaps it is obvious and therefore doesn’t warrant saying, but these places (particularly nursing homes and “psych-wards”) are horribly depressing places. Imagine a person in an altered state of consciousness, stripped of every ounce of happiness, hope, and joy. Imagine a whole group of these people; in varying degrees of helplessness (unable to care for their basic needs). Now imagine you spend half of your waking hours among these people, trying to care for them.

You might have to order your good cheer from the hospital supply catalog too.

Yet for me, this is a big part of what makes these places so miserable. Both the patients and the people caring for them… in their own way… seem utterly hopeless.

Give the gift of words.