I shepherded my mother through nine years of long term care and was so appalled that I wrote a book after her death: Dying for Attention: A Graphic Memoir of Nursing Home Care by Conundrum Press. I made it humorous because the topic is so sad, bordering on desperate.
The book was well-received from critics but most importantly from people going through the same experience: https://www.susanmacleod.ca/readers-responses
Shortly after my book launched, I saw this ten-minute TedTalk by Calgary cartoonist Sam Hester: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvQIJKe5jmg
Inspired by this new way to improve communications (and therefore compassion) between family members and the health care providers in nursing homes, I got in touch with Sam and she gave me permission to run with this idea. So, I did. I drew this template and put it on my website for people to download. https://www.susanmacleod.ca/would-pictures-help Below are three examples - the blank drawing, one filled out by a staff member, and another by a family member.
I took the idea to the Canadian Frailty Network Research Day in Fredericton, New Brunswick on May 11 and received encouraging responses. Most people who filled in my short survey were health care providers who loved the idea as did others who simply dropped by to chat. It’s far from a scientific response but certainly encouraging enough for me to pursue next steps.
Next, I spoke with Dr. Sarah Fraser, Co-director of the Medical Humanities program at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. She liked the idea too and gave me leads to pursue professional research support from the Geriatric Medicine department at Dal. And I’ve been in touch with a few nursing homes in Halifax to see if they’re interested in testing the concept.
What do you think of the idea? Any suggestion? Please contact me at email@example.com It’s all part of Visualizing End of Life Issues!
Here’s a sketch I did at the conference for your viewing pleasure.