Today's press coverage within the Daily Mail about the lack of compassionate care amongst care staff is an all too familiar sounding statement to Amanda Waring, original founder of the Governments Dignity Board.
Following on from her own mothers poor care and treatment within a NHS hospital, Amanda Waring was empowered to make something good come out of a sad and frustrating situation. She was compelled to self fund, produce and direct a film to portray how a lack of compassionate care can be devastatingly detrimental to a patient and their family. As a result, her now award winning film 'What Do You See' is used worldwide by many care homes, hospitals and NHS Trusts for staff trainings and is endorsed by institutes such as the the Royal College of Nursing for use with dignity and compassion trainings.
Continuing her campaigning momentum, as part of the Daily Mail's Dignity for the Elderly Campaign, Amanda wrote her thoughts and feelings for a recent article for them. This explained how her own experiences had catapulted her into an area of acute awareness with elder care issues and profiled certain poor attitudes, practices and lacking of training with caring staff.
"My mother Dame Dorothy Tutin was an actress whose charm and intelligence made her one of theatre’s most accomplished leading ladies. All her life, she was appalled by the thought that one day old age, infirmity or sickness might make her a burden on others. Like many of her generation she did not like to make a fuss. Quiet fortitude was her style. So during her final illness she did not protest when she was treated with a level of dismissive contempt that amounted to cruelty. When she was quarantined in a bleak and windowless hospital room and accorded neither compassion nor care."
"Even though it is now 11 years since Mama died, not a day goes by when I do not miss her. I thought of her earlier this week when a certain newspaper disclosed the shaming news that one consultant took a ‘veterinary approach’ to caring for those with dementia, not treating them in the same way as those he could speak to, while another confessed that he had never been trained in their care. I believe now is time to issue a reminder that our elderly deserve so much better"
Amanda therefore is dismayed to read the headline of today's article about compassion being something that can't be taught amongst care staff. "You can teach people compassion!" cried Amanda. "There are ways and means, through teaching and trainings, I have seen the results! It can be awakened as I believe that everyone has this ability, it just needs to be developed in some more than others." Amanda continued with "The challenge however, is to ensure the much needed vital and long term action plan for change. The implementation of improved training, increasing both awareness and understanding is so very necessary. Its something I have been undertaking with my own campaigning efforts, speaking, filmmaking and work with the Governments Dignity Board for the past few years now. I feel very passionately that caring from the heart is not a luxury but a neccesity."
Amanda's forthcoming book 'The Heart of Care' A guide to Person Centred Care with Souvenir Press is due to published in May and and her enriching films, talks and training packs provide very positive ways to understand just how to become a compassionate carer and are available to puchase through Amazon or www.amandawaring.com
Amanda Waring is an actress, writer and director and has been a passionate campaigner for older people's rights for the past five years.