Health and social care, care of the elderly, care homes, care in the community, child care, nursing care, residential care, respite care … The word ‘care’ is used everywhere but what does it mean?
The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as ‘the process of protecting someone or something and providing what that person or thing needs’ and ‘serious attention, especially to the details of a situation or thing’.
Synonyms: caution, attentiveness, alertness, vigilance, observance, responsibility, forethought, mindfulness, regard.
Medicine and nursing are caring vocations. Yet, they are jobs like any other. They pay a salary for a service rendered. The care element can potentially become optional as long as all the boxes are ticked.
‘Continuity of care’ is particularly tricky in mental health as relationships are based on trust and every time a new person takes over a caring role, all the facts need to be repeated and trust re-established, starting from scratch.
Now that I belong to a network of mothers and fathers who have lost their children to suicide, one common theme emerges: “It seems that our sons and daughters didn’t need more resources, more GP’s or more psychiatrists or more nurses. They just needed more care…”
Let’s not use the word carelessly.