A Short Nursing Home Story
By: Wendy Wu, R.D., M.S.
The woman sat in her wheel chair, hair curly wearing a flowery dress and a great big smile. “I’m going to work”, she said, alarm sounding every now and then as she tries to get up from her wheelchair. “Sit down, you’re going to fall”, the nurses called out from behind the nurses station. “I gotta go to work, there’s food to be cooked” she said. Little did she know that “going to work” is precisely what got her into this predicament. See, the cops found her on the floor mumbling “I’m going to work, I’m going to work”. The neighbors said they saw her wandering around the streets aimlessly so they called the cops. That day, her aide had called in sick and her daughter had to step out to buy some groceries.
As caring children, we snicker when people mention nursing homes. “Oh I would never send my parents to a nursing home, I hear terrible stories”, many say. Well, I can attest that leaving your sick elderly parents at home without nursing supervision is abuse. I see many patients come in with horrendous pressure ulcers from home due to neglect/lack of nursing skill. I won’t even mention the dangers involved with an ambulatory demented elderly left home alone.
We as children should do everything in our power to make our parents happy but many times their condition becomes unmanageable. It’s not horrible to bring your sick elderly parents to a skilled nursing facility. But it is horrible when nobody calls or visits. For the families, please don’t come once a year and boss everyone around. I see that way too often. Much appreciation should be given to the staff for all that is involved in caring for the elderly. We are more family to our patients than anyone will ever know!
(This was written about 2 years ago when I worked in a Nursing Home.)
Yes, sometimes drugs and restraints are used to manage a patients behavior. But believe me, they are tightly controlled and monitored. And of last resort! Please don’t just see the uglier side of some nursing homes and discriminate them all.
Just a different perspective. Nobody’s perfect. Let’s just do our very best!
“Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness.” -Dale Carnegie
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