Monday, August 11, 2008

Campus of Care

There is a small story in this morning's Province that speaks volumes about so-called nursing homes or senior citizen's homes.

A man dies and days later the staff call his family to ask what they should do with his bicycle. No one had called to say he was in hospital for two weeks.

The staff and the hospital are pointing fingers at each other saying it was the other guy's responsibility to behave like a caring human being with common sense.

Read the story and then multiply by about 100,000.

In my experience, too many of these institutions have a culture that is lacking in common sense or common decency.

As soon as you hear the staff telling you how much they care about their residents, book a flight for Tierra del Fuego.


Anonymous said...

I am an LPN in a long term care facility who, I hope, has demonstrated at least some "caring... and common sense."

The procedure where I work is that, when someone is transfered to hospital, a call is made to the attending physician and to the health proxy (usually a family member). I always give the health proxy the number for the ward access of the receiving hospital so that they can contact them for any needed information.

I chart all of this information on a computerized charting system so that all my nursing colleagues know what has been done.

I am happy to be working my facility because they have excellent procedures. This comes from having a full time social worker on site, full time nursing manager on site and full time nurse clinical manager on site. We also have a high ratio of RN and LPN professional staff on each floor, in addition to care aides (most with several years of experience).

I would hope that this incident is reviewed by all staff concerned (at both the long term care facility and at the hospital) and that they can adjust their procedures so that this type of incident does not occur in the future.

I would be interested in hearing the whole story though. Often, facilities and hospitals cannot defend stories like this because of the confidentiality laws that they must abide by.

I wonder if the health proxy WAS contacted and that family members were then not contacted by the health proxy? I wonder if there was any other extenuating circumstance that caused this communication gaffe? I might never know.

In any event. I will be making a copy of this story to share with my managers and my colleagues at our professional practice meetings to discuss how we can make sure that families are given timely information in a clear and sensitive manner.

Anyways, I have said my piece, I hope you enjoy your flight to Tierra del Fuego David ... after all, I must be either delusional or lying if I say that I care about the Residents and that I take pride in my profession.

Linda Yuill, LPN

David Berner said...


Thank you for your comment, as always.

I recognize and applaud your pride in your work and the work of the people in your institution.

Unfortunately, I have experienced far too often bureaucratic bull and lack of real care sugar-coated and disguised as care in too many senior's facilities.

I have been left with little faith in such places.

If you and your team are different and better than most, good for you and good for the people you serve.