Reflections: innocence revisited

What my patients have taught me




A GP reflects on work in an aged-care facility and on learning not just about chronic disease management, palliation and dementia care but also about humility, acceptance, pride and positivity, grace, faith and resilience.

Article Extract

Sigmund Freud said, ‘One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful’. 

I was privileged enough to work as a GP in an aged care facility for two years. Being the resident GP meant that my patients became my family. I would see them at their bedside, learn about their lives and meet their families, who became mine. It was the most difficult period in my working life – dealing with death, palliation, dementia, bureaucracy from government agencies and demands from families. Admittedly, sometimes these demands were warranted but at other times impossible. My days were filled with ear syringing and managing falls, urinary retention and skin tears. Then there were the team meetings and case conferences between care providers and families. Resident medication reviews and health assessments thrown into the mix made it interesting but difficult and time consuming.

Picture credit: © Barry Olive, 2017