Tuesday, 30 August 2016

The Flip Side

Over the weekend I cared for a patient that required physical 24 hour supervision by two people at all times
It was a necessary, labour intensive, expensive and at times mentally draining task, but strange as it may seem not one that nurses on intensive care are unfamiliar with.
I was " supervising" the shift and was helped both nights by agency nurses, with different levels of experience and knowledge.
Throughout the often long night shift, I had the opportunity of discussing the experiences of both and one in particular, a support worker who travels all over the North of the country in search of work, was an eye opener to say the least.
He told me that he loved working in environments like ours.
The reason?
He was party to " nice"  staff and high standards of care,
He also told me how lucky I was having everything I needed to hand.
I explored his statements further and was somewhat shocked to hear of just how care varies in some public and private care situations.
He told me that he has cleaned  stinking carpets in the middle of the night in an effort to provide an environment suitable for old people to exist in. He has endured bullying and exploitation by burnt out and uncaring staff and he had worked in places that thought providing one pair of gloves a shift was a luxury.
He told me of one dilapidated private home which had one resident's room open to the night's sky whilst another always had one pristine and beautifully furnished empty room on standby just in case the inspectors came to call..
It was depressing stuff.

Working as a nurse in the public sector is not always a piece of cake. But generally in my experience, the care is excellent, standards are high, the environment is suitable for purpose and respect is high.
Sadly in the " real world" that is not always the case

Thoughts readers?


31 comments:

  1. Sadly the care here varies. The care, and the facilities. Could you have worked in some of the places he describes? I suspect not.

    ReplyDelete
  2. In the twenty years we have lived here served by Southampton or Bournemouth hospitals we have received excellent service & care from the NHS. I can always get a quick appointment at the GP's surgery so all in all I can give positive feedback.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sadly it's only the bad ones we hear about in the media. What we need is positive news that highlights all the good stuff that goes on around us - and this is one of countless examples people should know about. Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Care varies; I always think that if you do not care then do not become a carer. I have worked all over, some good departments and some poor. I remember one nurse, she was bossy, dictatorial and unkind. A lady was admitted; small almost skeletal and embryonic in shape. As we were admitting her this nurse searched her hand bag. Finding a small bottle she demanded from the patient what it was, at the same time hectoring her about handing over all her medicines on admission. She opened the bottle and took a good sniff . . . it was sal volatile!! as she reeled away from the bed area this little lady smiled a knowing and sweet smile. Vindicated!!! Love Andie xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Little victories can be just as sweet as big ones eh? X

      Delete
  5. My brother was unemployed for a long time and the job centre kept trying to make him go for a job in a local home even he knew he doesnt have the right temprament for it. Others took the jobs and took delight in telling him about all the shit they got up to. Makes my blood boil!

    ReplyDelete
  6. variable here also; money talks and gets the best care available.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I was in the best - J remarked that I was in the "good insurance wing" and the care varied with who the nurse was. Some were very good, some - - - well I am still not ready to talk about.

    ReplyDelete
  8. These are the tales (the ones you were told) which we want to blank out of our minds as though they didn't happen - especially for those of us approaching, or already in, our 'twilight' years, and have no money to finance a greater likelihood of comfort and better care in our declining stages. It's pretty scary. But you already appreciate that.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I bet you can remember a time when agency staff were very rare in hospitals. Why have these agencies been allowed to blossom at public expense? Hospitals, like schools, need staff who are committed to particular institutions - not floating around from job to job. Obviously this is largely the fault of the system but there are "professionals" out there who prefer not to commit. Dip in. Grab the money and go. At least that's how it seems to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed YP IT WAS UNHEARD OF when i was a lad

      Delete
  10. I wouldn't think those places he spoke of would be able to keep good staff for very long.

    ReplyDelete
  11. My MiL is in a care home. Just last Sunday she was telling me that the old ladies who just sit and stare into space all day start tapping their fingers when my MiL practices the piano (only scales) where they sit. Otherwise, these ladies are just dumped in the armchair every day with the tv playing. It's very sad. It makes me wish I could play the piano so I could go up there sometimes and play for them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you did some bright spark would tell you to shut the fuck up

      Delete
    2. My Mum is 86 and she goes twice a week to two different homes to play for the "oldies". She even takes requests for some old tune and spends all week practicing it. Piano is excellent for keeping the brain active.

      Delete
  12. Frightening isn't it.It's one reason (amongst many others) to make sure that you keep fit, eat a proper diet, take plenty of excercise, & keep mentally alert,so that you don't end up in one of these places in your old age. Sadly My MiL is in one, like Andi's English Attic's, and the situation is very similar. She's the only one that has a daily newspaper delivered and tries to keep up with what's going on, even though she suffers from dementia, the rest are all in the armchairs watching (or not!) rubbish on the telly. I'd rather die than end up in one of these places. Thank God for people like you John, and your agency nurse colleague.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think this post may be pertinent to bloggers we are all roughly of a certain age

      Delete
  13. I visited the aunt of a friend, abandoned by her children to a home with the substandard care you describe. It was sad and depressing. Sadder than the smell, and the obvious ill care of the woman, her pleasure at meeting someone who could tell her of her family, though she had never met me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am reminded here of my own mother.....who had good to adequate care in her care home. A home she hated

      Delete
  14. In the midst of all sorts of political controversy over here in the States about medical care, it was very interesting to read your post and the earlier comments.

    I am wondering if you've read Nina Stibbe's Paradise Lodge. It is mostly set within a care home...with financial issues.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not read that one.....off to google it

      Delete
  15. I volunteer at a US Veteran's Hospital on Sundays. I do a coffee shop in the morning along with having newspapers and the occasional doughnuts. If there isn't a bus trip, I take anyone who's interested to RC church. Afterwards, we have bingo sponsored by a visiting group or by the recreational therapy department at which we award canteen books as prizes. I've watched the ranks of WWII veterans thin out. Now, I'm watching the same thing happen to Korean War veterans. I also see the Vietnam veterans, many of whom have had legs amputated due to diabetes, which I attribute to Agent Orange. The reason I started doing it was that my mother was in a nursing home. The dementia caught up to her and she just stared off. She stopped reacting to the cream puffs and eclairs and pineapple sundaes my son and I would bring to her. I'm so proud of my son. Never once did he say "Dad, I don't want to go." or "Dad, why do we have to go there?" or "Dad, I want to go now.". Never once. As my mother declined, I knew I'd have to find something else to do. I didn't want to turn into that lonely old guy sitting at the end of the bar at a gay bar. I was too damned old for that and I cared about myself and I suppose my pride. I also knew it wouldn't set a very good example for my son. And that's how I started volunteering at the VA hospital. My mother died a couple months later. It's been almost 10 years and I'm still doing it. I hope to do it until, well, until I no longer can. When I can't, maybe then I'll know it's time to go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for this.
      I too dont want to be that old bloke at the end of the bar.
      I aim to " go" a littleyounger ......failing that im off on the ice flows like the eskimos

      Delete
    2. There's a cartoon in The New Yorker magazine this week of two Eskimos setting an elderly person afloat on an ice floe. It's obviously a commentary about global climate change because one Eskimo is saying to the other that they're going to run out of ice floes for the Boomers. :)

      Delete
  16. Number one: you are in the right place and I am glad you have these thoughts at all. Please don't get burned out!!
    Number two: the state of things when it comes to care, both at hospitals and at home, is a miserable story. Luckily, there are places where people actually get treated like persons, with respect and dignity. Here in Sweden we often say that when we grow old and need to leave our houses we'll move to Denmark....even here it helps if you belong to a certain standard or have some money in the bank. But the danish, always treated with some suspicion, knows that people still have needs when they grow old, and most of them are even still people!!!
    We have good healthcare, in comparison. It's the way we treat patients and clinical staff that is a failure. Absurd workingschedules, ridiculous wages, unbelievable political decisions ... well, I'm still glad there are nurses like you, John.

    ReplyDelete
  17. The situation here is much the same. You may not get the softest toilet paper in the public system, but it is very accountable, which is why politicians prefer that it was all private.

    ReplyDelete
  18. We have many sub standard homes for the elderly here in the US. But some are trying hard to do a difficult and thankless job. My sister who is 83 landed in a very good facility even though she has little money. I am grateful every time I visit. I have no fear of enging my days in a home. I have a real fear of my family having to take care of me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lets hope we never have to experience the same system carol x

      Delete
  19. Thank you for who you are and for caring John.
    I care for my younger mentally challenged sister. My biggest fear is she will end up up in one of those horrible places. My daily prayer is for strength, patience and to live 5 minutes longer than she. I am 10 years older.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete

I love comments and will now try very hard to reply to all of them
Please dont be abusive x