People often talk about how they like health care provision to be ‘gentle’ but what does that actually mean? What do employees do when they are being gentle and how can organisations foster gentleness?
Staff from St Ann’s have recently been involved in a research project led by Professor David Holman, Professor of Organisational Psychology at the University of Manchester, in order to find out answers to these questions.
The two-year project is funded by the Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS) and has brought together researchers from AMBS and the university’s School of Health Sciences who worked with St Ann’s Hospice day therapy unit staff and patients.
The research project is now starting to produce findings. The full report can be found on the AMBS website.
Professor David Holman commented: ‘The project is an exciting one since it is one of the very first to focus specifically on gentleness. Our results suggest that gentleness can be defined as a soft and slow approach to care-giving. This soft and slow approach includes actions such as speaking in a quiet, friendly manner and the use of soft touch to communicate empathy and understanding. One important aspect is that gentle care-giving has a relatively slow pace and rhythm, that involves giving time to patients. St Ann’s was a perfect environment for our research work, and we really learnt a lot both from the staff and the patients. It also really challenged our researchers’ perceptions of what hospice day care was going to be like. It was hard to leave the place, because we enjoyed it so much.’