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When Care Has Not Gone As Expected

When care has not gone as expected there is a ripple effect for all involved. There might be a number of reasons the outcome happened or a few.  Apart from the obvious learning opportunity this event presents, both individually and as an organisation, there is also the potential emotional toll it might have on you. 

Whether you were directly or indirectly involved it might bring up feelings of guilt, shame, anxiety or distress.  You might question the decisions you made on that day, thinking “if only”.  Alternatively, you might feel quite detached from it. Whatever your response, it is important to acknowledge you are having one and put mechanisms in place to prevent it progressing. It might not be how you emotionally respond, rather it is in your behaviour.  You might find that you become avoidant of similar patients or order excessive tests to subdue your fears. 

These reactions are because you care. When shame and guilt is at the core of our emotions, we tend to withdraw from others.  This is a time when you might need more support from friends, family and colleagues.  Also, the impact of your response might be delayed and so there are lots of ways you can safeguard it escalating. 

If you or a loved one is in immediate crisis...