Helping Hands
by Alexander Glover

Reflection

I chose to photograph a scene exploring the idea that after a long stay in hospital, people easily became institutionalized, leading to difficulty when planning for discharge. I wanted the image to represent a person who has been in hospital for a long period of time - following a fall or stroke perhaps - and wanted to show 'helping hands' aiding her with her self-care and feeding. I avoided showing her body as I wanted it to appear like she has no need for it anymore as these helping hands are doing it all for her. It appears that in the long run, these faceless hands are doing quite the opposite of what they intended to do and are not helping but rather hindering her independence and her ability to look after herself at home. My experience showed me that this was a big problem for the rehabilitation teams. There would come a time where the medical staff have fulfilled their roles and the therapists would take over but in the interim period the patients would often find themselves in the situation depicted above having everything done for them and becoming thoroughly bored as a result. The creative process was rather enjoyable, utilizing several of my housemates' hands and props from throughout the house.

 Whole Person Care

Comments

James Povey

07 March 2011 - 22:13:33
"I agree with the statements you made in your reflection, the patient in the picture clearly doesn't look happy, and even looks stifled and oppressed by the surrounding hands. I think you have captured this common phenomenon exceedingly delicately yet accurately. Although this may not be the case for all patients, I believe more attention should be paid to the individual qualities and personality traits of the patient to assess what kind of support they need, or even want. It should be realised that perhaps what a hegemonous society views as support could have very different impacts on the diverse and huge population, which in some cases may need more consideration."

Mirain Phillips

19 March 2012 - 11:25:01
"This artwork really captures how invasive treatment can be, it is almost as if all these hands are clambering all over the patient. It is little wonder that she stares ahead vacantly, not engaging with her carers at all. It works as a graphic illustration of the importance of having eye contact and engaging with the patient as a person. At a deeper level, it shows the danger that doing too much for the patient encourages dependency and helplessness which can lead to a lack of self-esteem."

Thisarana Wijayaratne

19 March 2012 - 11:25:01
"I totally agree with the reflection and indeed in the long run this makes the patient feel boredom and the lack of self confidence to do her own work. The level of care that she's receiving may not be up to the level that she's expecting, hence she must be suffering form the bottom of her mind. What I feel is that she has lost her independence and been framed into a small area where she could literally do nothing. This case could be seen in most of the cases in palliative care and disablement, although it might be not in the same level as shown in the picture. The picture shows one of the extremes. The patient doesn't look happy because she doesn't receive the care the way she wants it. She could be in a mental position where she thinks "what's the point in living like this?" which does bring a lot of stress into her life. What I believe is that more attention should be paid and then providing the level of care according to their best interests."

Thisarana Wijayaratne

19 March 2012 - 11:25:01
"I totally agree with the reflection and indeed in the long run this makes the patient feel boredom and the lack of self confidence to do her own work. The level of care that she's receiving may not be up to the level that she's expecting, hence she must be suffering form the bottom of her mind. What I feel is that she has lost her independence and been framed into a small area where she could literally do nothing. This case could be seen in most of the cases in palliative care and disablement, although it might be not in the same level as shown in the picture. The picture shows one of the extremes. The patient doesn't look happy because she doesn't receive the care the way she wants it. She could be in a mental position where she thinks "what's the point in living like this?" which does bring a lot of stress into her life. What I believe is that more attention should be paid and then providing the level of care according to their best interests."

Ellie Badger

19 March 2012 - 11:25:01
"I agree with you comments on your work. I love the image. The image is thought provoking concerning the loss of independence and the idea of 'self' an individual may encounter after long, invasive treatment. The daily tasks, shown by the hands, which the indivdual can no longer do for themselves almost show a second childhood state, this is usually old age, however, for the patient this is premature. The expressionless face, is that of a patient contemplating this second childhood, we are not sure whether they'll ever be able to reach a level of acceptance, and become in control of there illness who whether it will continue to have a hold on them, leaving them almose helpless. "

Andy Jones

19 March 2012 - 11:25:01
"This struck me as it highlighted an aspect of a patientís care that is very easy to forget about, very often the aim is to get the patient out of hospital meaning it is easy to assume that once a patient is out of hospital, the problem is fixed and over with when in fact, as the photograph highlights, this is certainly not the case in many instances. "

Tom Lyons

19 December 2012 - 18:30:23
"I really like the ideas behind this image and think its very good at showing the importance of making sure a patient doesn't become to dependent when they are receiving care so that they can be discharged earlier as they will be able to deal with their new disability on their own. I particularly like this image because of my time spent as a HCA in a nursing home where we were encouraged to promote independence so that their standard of living was increased. "

Rosie Dunbar

29 October 2017 - 17:53:59
"I found this image really striking - the distanced expression on the person's face represents for me the acceptance of the person that everything should and will be done for her so there's no need for her to engage in any of these tasks. It's important to remember that part of the care provided by doctors should involve preparing patients for life outside of a hospital setting so ensuing that they don't get too reliant on "helping hands". For a patient to truly get better and successfully move on with their lives they need to be independent, or at least put effort into looking after themselves."

Maddy Padgett

04 November 2018 - 09:13:13
"I feel that this photo really focuses on a part of care that is often overlooked in the world of a busy doctor but that is an all too common site for nurses and HCAs. It reminds me of the importance of promoting independence, which was, for good reason, a huge part of my HCA work in care homes. Adjusting to big lifestyle changes can be massively overwhelming for patients and it is so easy to slip into a routene where they become reliant on other people to do the things they could manage individually before, this can be frustraining for many patience and I feel this image really captures the want of the patient to de it all for themselves again."

Tara Tiwary

04 November 2018 - 09:23:56
"I found this image really eye-catching because of how vacant and expressionless the patient looks. She looks completely disengaged from what is happening around her which makes it seem like she has given up on trying to do things independently. It highlights that while healthcare professionals should obviously help patients when they struggle doing things themselves, a big part of their role should also be to help patients to develop the confidence to do things independently again. They should also try to help patients retain their sense of self by reminding them that their hospital stay is only temporary and preparing them for their return to normal life. "