Editor's Note

Many More Reasons

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SMILEY FACE: GINO CRESCOLI/PIXABAY

A few years before starting as editor of Mobility Management, I had abdominal surgery that hospitalized me for more than a week. After the surgery, I had a high fever and internal bleeding that required blood transfusions. I was in so much pain, I swear even my hair and fingernails hurt.

The morning of the second day, nurses, nurses’ aides, the surgeon and the other specialists began urging me to sit up, get out of bed, and walk. They cited elevated risks of blood clots and potential respiratory complications from immobility. Family and friends coaxed as the doctors’ voices hardened: Mobility is the best way to reduce the risk of further complications. I ignored them until the surgeon insisted I at least sit up. Without warning, he pulled me to an upright position, and I couldn’t catch my breath from the pain. After a few moments, I returned to my supine position and refused to move.

Near midnight, there was a shift change, and a new nurses’ aide, Yvonne, became the latest in the long line of people telling me to get moving.

“You’ll feel better if you walk a little,” she said.

“No.”

“You could brush your teeth while I change the bed sheets.”

“No.”

“How come?” she asked, her tone breezy. When I told her what had happened earlier, she rolled her eyes. “Well, that’s no good. I can teach you how to get out of bed by yourself. Won’t hurt at all.”

Yvonne put the bed controls in my hands. By alternately raising and lowering the foot and head of the bed, I could use gravity, bedrails and my upper body to roll onto my side, pull myself up and slide into a standing position. “Just stand a minute to get your balance,” she warned. But I was already walking away. Very slowly. But beaming.

There’s only one reason to comply with healthcare professionals’ instructions: To facilitate the best outcome. There can be many more reasons not to comply: Pain, fear, confusion, exhaustion, frustration, despair.

While everyone else had lectured me on why I should obey, Yvonne asked why I wouldn’t. She listened, devised a plan, and just like that, I went from non-compliant patient to cheerful collaborator in charge of my own mobility.

This month’s cover story (page 22) is on compliance, and it discusses why that term might not be the best word to use to describe a client’s ability or willingness to carry out a seating and mobility team’s recommendations. Our other feature story — an update on pressure injuries (page 12) — also has a significant compliance component, because the best pressure-relieving strategies are only effective if performed properly.

One of my favorite things about this industry is its holistic view on complex issues such as compliance. Thank goodness for people like you who, upon seeing non-compliance, ask why and how, and then stop to listen.

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2021 issue of Mobility Management.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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