FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN
/ Jewels From Joanne
I would like to share a note I recently
received from a reader:
You called me a Fearless Caregiver, when I took
care of my beloved husband. When I wrote
you about how I got his care taken care of at
the nursing home, you praised me, highly. Well,
the TV is on for noise. An ad was just
running with a number to call if you feel your
loved one has been abused in a nursing home.
I got livid, then angry and then I decided I
would write you again.
If your family member has to go to the nursing
home, then your responsibilities go way up on
the scale. You have to remember the old
adage, "The squeaking wheel gets the grease!"
You have to become creative and very pro-active.
I never allowed them to get comfortable with my
coming in the nursing home. I was in and
out at all hours. My husband loved
football games! I'd be there to see that
he could watch them and got the rest of the
residents involved so we ended up with weekend
parties. Staff even got involved. It
was so simple, I took my husband to the dayroom
and turned on the TV to the channel that the
game was on PERIOD.
I popped in and out, I was there at breakfast on
days that I was going to be out of town part of
the day. I was there for Monday football
and the TV shows that he liked at night. I
tried to keep his schedule as close to home as I
could. If I came in and he had food on his
clothes, I let them know, that was not
acceptable. Did I worry about retaliation?
You bet. But the fact that I was there so
often, they decided that I would go to all their
bosses if things weren't taken care of. If
I had a major complaint, I made it but I also
made compliments about what was right with the
I recently had the task of going back there to
call on a dear friend who is there for the
duration. I was greeted by the staff
warmly and with hugs. They had to tell me
they missed me and my husband. One RN
said, you always patted us on the back and I
They have one whale of a job to do. We
have to recognize they are overworked,
understaffed and underpaid for the choice they
have made. I'd say 90% of the ones are
there because they care. The ones that
don't, don't last too long.
Remember, if your family member is in a nursing
home, you have to assume the role of ADVOCATE.
You have to get their attention, that you won't
put up with certain things if you find something
they are doing offensive. The non-verbal
residents need it more than the ones that can
yell and scream at the staff. Don't be
afraid to speak up. Remember even the
director of the nursing home or director of
nursing has a boss. I was lucky enough to
be there one time when the facility was
inspected by a crew from the state office.
I made it my point to talk with a couple of
them. They both told me, if I wasn't happy
with something not to hesitate to call them.
Would you believe that was a great comfort for
me? You bet it was. I never
threatened but I let the staff know how much I
enjoyed talking with them. They got the
message really quickly. I've always
laughed and prayed that I didn't want to end up
there. But now that I know I'm truly
missed, maybe it wouldn't be such a bad place as
I have a daughter that would be equally as
demanding as her mother was, all within reason.
Thanks for letting me air my thoughts. If
your family member is abused in a nursing home,
where were you? You can't just warehouse
them without an after-thought.
Joanne, thank you
for your words of wisdom, you are STILL a