A Researcher's Long Term Care Story
Many of us are thinking of all the people who have loved ones in long-term care and, may not be able to visit, due to measures that have been taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, I am reminded of a woman I met a few years ago whose husband was living with dementia in a long-term care home.
During a research visit to the long-term care home, we had video recorded the physiotherapy examination of her husband who was a participant in one of our research studies on pain and dementia. His wife, who visited and spent many hours with him each day, was present and told us how pleased she was that her beloved husband, who had lost his ability to communicate verbally, could make a contribution to help improve pain assessment and management for other people with dementia. Shortly after the filming was completed, we realized that there was an equipment failure that damaged the video and prevented it from working. When we told her about the equipment failure, she became disappointed that her husband, whom she loved so much, would not make a contribution to the research. She seemed sad and so I made a promise to her: I would solicit whatever technical expertise was necessary to try and repair the video that we had recorded. I also promised her that I would call her and let her know if we were successful.
I asked one of my collaborators with a doctorate in software engineering if he would try and repair the video, given how important this was for the couple. This turned out to be a difficult and complicated task. My colleague worked on this for many hours over the course of several days and, at the end, was able to repair the video. I was in transit at the Calgary airport when I received his call with the good news. I immediately phoned this lady and told her that we were able to repair the video. She was delighted and relieved. Despite the severe dementia, her husband was making an important contribution to pain research. This meant a lot to her.
How You Can Help?
Would you like to share your thoughts on our See Pain More Clearly initiative and the use of social media to mobilize knowledge about pain in dementia?
We are looking for researchers to participate in a study to evaluate the effectiveness of the #seepainmoreclearly social media initiative to mobilize knowledge about pain in dementia.