As a practicing doctor one of the saddest things I get to hear is from elderly patients telling me that no one cares for them. Not that no one provides for their daily physical needs, but that they don’t feel loved. They do not feel a sense of compassion in those that look after them. Many families, such as my own, struggled to care for elderly relatives at home, yet found it difficult to find good quality home care for their loved ones that was truly personalised to their needs.
My first experience of providing care to others was as an 18 year old in my Gap year. I worked for 6 months in a nursing home. It was hard work- not just physically but also emotionally. It became clear to me back then that this was not just any old job- you had to have a certain something to do it well, those that did it well really cared for those they looked after. You could see it in the way they were attentive to many so called ‘little things’
As a student I had the privilege to spend 6 months with the late Dr Karuna Chelliah and his wife, in their home in Tamil Nadu, southern India. Dr Karuna, as well as being a GP to some of the poorest people in that area of India, also ran a home for disabled and handicapped children. His untiring dedication to improving the lives of all those in need and ensuring they felt loved by those who cared for them, continues to be my inspiration and motivation in my own practice as a doctor, many years later. See this link to read a bit about his work.
I have worked with many great professionals over the years, yet along with many of my colleagues have come to feel that there does not seem to be an ambition to achieve excellence and compassion in the home care industry.
Care needs to be caring- it sounds simple yet so often it does not seem to be the case. Penrose Care will only be a success in my eyes if everyone that we have the privilege of caring for really does feel truly cared for by our staff.
Dr. Matthew Knight is a practicing physician and works as a Consultant at the West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, following several years at the Royal Free Hospital, and the Chest Clinic, Northwood. In addition to his work as a physician, he has spent many years engaged in voluntary work for young adults in north London and has helped with fundraising in Kenya and in India.
Dr. Knight holds a BSc (hons) in Neurosciences and MBBS (merit) in Medicine from the University College London. He holds the Diploma in Internal Medicine from the Royal College of Physicians, London, and holds full membership of the Royal College. He has sat on the national trainees committee of the Royal College of Physicians from 2011. Since 1999, he has lived in the Hampstead area of north west London.
Matthew sits as a non-executive board member of Penrose Care, and his main interests are ensuring that we provide the best quality of care to all the people we care for. He is involved in the running of the volunteers programme that we are establishing and is happy to be contacted about any issues regarding our care and services. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org