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    Do you do TOO much for your patient?
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    Dave Balch posted:
    My wife's brain damage causes her to move very slowly so, for example, if she wants to remove lint from her shirt it might take, literally, 8 seconds. (That may not sound like much, but make the motion to pick something off of your shirt and make it last until you can count off 8 seconds... )

    I could see the struggle and couldn't help her fast enough; I thought I was doing her a favor. If she reached for the light switch I would flip it for her. If she was struggling to reach something on the counter from her wheelchair I would grab it and give it to her. And on and on... Part of me couldn't bear to see her having difficulty, and part of me felt like she would resent the fact that I was watching without helping.

    The light went on when a physical therapist explained that, although sometimes excruciating to watch, it is good therapy for her to struggle with these things and I'm doing her a disservice by doing them for her. Besides the therapeutic value of doing things herself, she feels less helpless, even if they take much longer.

    Now we have an agreement; I will not help her until and unless she asks for help.

    Past or present, have you done too much for your patient? How? What did you do about it?
     
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    rohvannyn responded:
    I think sometimes I've done too much for my clients, mostly because I had a limited amount of time to get everything done in. It's had more of an effect in my home life actually, because for a while I did too much for my nondisabled spouse! It was all habit. The cure was asking. You make a really good point about the struggle being important when someone is trying to regain skills. Not only that, but it provides a greater sense of control and independece in the person needing help.
     
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    Dave Balch replied to rohvannyn's response:
    You raise an interesting point about "habit." I hadn't considered that, but in my zeal to help just about everyone I probably tend to do too much. The benefit of the struggle is not confined to the disabled; I think that most people would benefit from tackling whatever challenges them.

    "Give someone a fish and they eat for a day. Teach them how to fish [then let them practice and struggle> and they'll eat for a lifetime."


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