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Long-Term Care

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“This Is My Life Now”
An interview with a nursing home resident
By Sarah Wood

(Page 2 of 3)

“Hire more nurses! The nurses are always saying that they are short handed. That they’ve got too many people to take care of and not enough of them to go around. But, the nurses say that when the money gets tight, the extra nurses are the first to go. Most of the time in the evening and at night, there are only two nurses here. I get sick of waiting for someone to come change me. I think nurses should have a union. If they don’t hire enough or pay them very much, they should strike!” My friend says. But, that would mean that until things were settled, there’d be no nurses for you, I tell her.

“ Yes, maybe. But, at least something would change. Right now, it’s the same old thing; “Not enough nurses! Too short-handed! Not enough time!”

If you could run the nursing home for a week, what would you do different? I ask her.

“I wouldn’t want to run this place. I wouldn’t want to be president, either. Too much responsibility. You’re never going to make everybody happy. I know that. But, I’d have more nurses. And I wouldn’t have grumpy ones either. Y’know, ones with problems. That one girl that worked here, her husband was on drugs. She was so nasty all the time. Poor girl, I know that must’ve been terrible for her. But still…and I’d PAY the nurses more, too. Most of these girls said they don’t make enough to make ends meet. Then they get mad about that. That’s not my problem. But, when they are so gruff with you; that’s my problem….”

Have nurses ever been gruff with you? I ask.

“Oh, you get them sometimes that are gruff. I guess it can’t be avoided. Some people are just like that.”

What do you do when a nurse gets gruff with you? I ask.

“What can you do? Just ignore them if you can till they go away. I try not to ask them for help. But, sometimes, I have nobody else to ask. I got tired of asking for the bedpan. It would take so long for someone to come and then when they got tired of bringing it to me, they left it where I could give it to myself. Then I’d spill it and they’d have to change the bed. And they’d think I did it on purpose. Who would do something like that on purpose, for heaven’s sake? About the only thing you can do is hope that those nurses don’t work with you that day.”



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