Compromised Needs - Assisting a Family Member


Assisting a family member

Assisting a family member

Compromised needs

The concept of "need" Complexity of home care Helping, compensating, replacing, informing Person-centered care
  • The concept of "need"
    • Accompany
    • To commute
  • Complexity of home care
  • Help, compensate, replace, inform
  • Person-centered care

The concept of "need"

Sometimes you find yourself in situations that require you to learn how to perform a certain task. The work that is done at home while caring for a patient will certainly be centered on the need to satisfy some needs which, for different reasons, do not find free expression.

The need is a state of deficiency that pushes the individual to establish a relationship with his surrounding environment in order to satisfy it, while psychology considers the need as the interdependence between living organisms and the environment.

In nursing care, Virginia Henderson's theory rests essentially on the analysis of compromised needs. The main concepts of this analysis were borrowed from the teaching of Abraham Maslow, the illustrious psychologist who elaborated the hierarchy, or pyramid, of needs with which he tried to assign a priority (pyramid) to each need based on their satisfaction. To give an example, one cannot think of self-realization if the most basic needs (eating) have not been met first. Henderson's work takes this concept into consideration, but sees in the profession of the nurse, and therefore in the activity of assistance, the key to meeting the needs of the patient.

Clearly, all these needs intersect in biological, psychological and social life, influencing each other. The person who has to satisfy needs performs specific activities that require a scenario called an environment. If there is no environment in which to move, eat, work, fulfill oneself, there can be no attempt at satisfaction and vice versa: I can be in a suitable environment, but I cannot have the possibility of realization due to lack of awareness, vitality and so on. Understanding this feedback (interaction) is fundamental, it helps to face and understand what we have the intention to do and how we want to do it.

These concepts serve to explain that each person tends to maintain, in a more or less conscious way, a certain degree of autonomy or to lose it. The human body works incessantly, day and night, in an attempt to keep us healthy, tries to use the energies obtained with food, with sleep, with physical activity to maintain a state of balance. The disease represents another type of condition, an imbalance. But beyond the more or less complicated theories, the disease also translates into the loss of the ability to be independent. This somewhat twisted process can be explained with a simple scheme:

As it is possible to deduce from the drawing, we move in one direction or another according to the circumstances (diseases, age) in a sort of path or continuum, to be more technical; after all, they are simple concepts if understood and interpreted correctly.

Going through the stages of which this journey is made requires human beings to be able to adapt and be dynamic, and any adaptation necessarily involves periods of crisis: for example, the newborn baby is completely dependent on the mother; over the years it becomes less and less, but for various reasons it can go through difficult periods and regress to a more infantile state. The elaboration of this experience, however, (if possible) will allow the child to overcome the crisis and return to face life with greater maturity.

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Always in life there is someone who accompanies us: this term, however trivial it may be, has enormous meaning for those who are sick; accompanying means in fact taking a piece of road together, towards life or towards death.

When you feel accompanied you are not alone; they accompany you when you are born and during life, why not in illness?

Addressing the transformation of the physical and the psyche requires a lot of commitment both from the patient, who undergoes this process helplessly, and from the people who assist him; in particular, when emotionally involved, assistance can be very complex, as are the needs and needs to be addressed.

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To commute

Life changes constantly and we must try to change with it: adaptation and transformation are in fact the basis of the growth process and the secret of a peaceful life. Unfortunately, we increasingly see individuals capable of transforming their experiences into something constructive; disease is precisely one of those events in which life puts people in front of a thousand questions, especially if the pathology is serious or chronic.

The transition from a condition of independence to one of dependence is in most cases natural (seniority), but in other cases it has a devastating impact on all aspects of existence (for example, the road accident that causes paraplegia in a boy, forcing him to bed), causing a total upheaval. Even in these cases one is forced to transform: anger, impotence, dismay, whole life, everything undergoes a metamorphosis, a change. Thus the need arose to satisfy needs that were previously taken for granted.

Accompanying and transforming therefore become, together with needs, two very important terms in the continuum of human existence. Thus the work of those who assist is outlined more clearly than the doctor who diagnoses and cares: two separate works which, however, both converge on the needs of the person.

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