Empathy – download the app now!
By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON
A Radio 4 comedian recently used the phrase “two thousand apps but still no bottle-opener” wonderfully demonstrating the limitations of information technology.
Without doubt, IT is very useful and often time-saving (although I can think of many instances where it is time-wasting) and I still have a sense of wonderment every time I use my iphone for something other than making a telephone call.
But social care (healthcare too) is about a lot more than information and I worry that IT is being touted by some as a means to provide better care at less cost, reducing the number of staff that need to be employed. Over reliance on IT, it may be argued, also adds another layer of potential error and may result in a dilution of personal accountability.
Good care, in terms of help with such fundamentals as companionship, personal hygiene, nutrition, hydration, elimination and mobility, was being provided long before we became obsessed with little screens and data entry skills.
I see IT as little more than a useful adjunct to care. Apart from the physical and clinical aspects, so much of care is about companionship, about being a friend, and I believe these are what really matters when it comes to enriching people’s lives and attenuating the anxieties and loneliness that often attend an elderly person’s latter days.
I doubt the the ability of robotic furry seals and the like to emulate the sincere engagement and empathetic responses of a dedicated human carer. And we need more of them, not fewer.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.