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Caregiver Stress, Decision Making, and
"Dave's Rule of Wrong"

by Dave Balch, Founder,

As caregivers, we have a lot of decisions to make.  Some of them are relatively minor, and some are pretty important, and they all contribute to caregiver stress.

I think it’s fairly safe to say that we all want to make the right caregiving decisions.  Wrong decisions are something that we want to avoid, but when faced with an either/or choice, how do we decide?  We look at the options and think, “Which is the best decision?”

Here’s a tip: instead of asking which decision, if correct, yields the best result, ask which decision,  if wrong, yields the best result.  In other words, instead of looking for the best outcome, look for the least amount of damage should you be wrong.  Call it “damage control.”  Sounds backward, I know, but hang in there for a second!

For example, before one of my wife’s surgeries, the scheduling nurse told me that she shouldn’t eat anything for six hours.  One of the surgeon’s nurses, however, told my wife that four hours was enough. What to do?  There are obviously differing opinions so even if we ask someone else, who’s to say that they are correct?  Short of asking the anesthesiologist directly, which as a practical matter is nearly impossible. What should she do?

The question to ask is this: “Which would be better: to go four hours without food and be wrong or to go six hours without food and be wrong?”  Looking at it that way it is better to go six hours, because if four hours was the correct amount of time she is still okay for the surgery. 

If, however, she went only four hours and the correct amount of time is really six hours, the surgery may have to be rescheduled.

That is “Dave’s Rule of Wrong” –  “Which would be better: to do A and be wrong or to do B and be wrong?”  Try it; you’ll be amazed at how many times it will help you make good decisions in all areas of your life!

© 2010 by Dave Balch. All rights reserved.

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