Monday, March 9, 2009

It's A Terrible Thing To Think But ...

Thanks, at least in part, to Nova Scotia's new Protection of Persons in Care Act, there has been an increase inthe number of reports of incidents of abuse and neglect in Nova Scotia nursing homes.

Not necessarily an increase in incidents but an increase in the reporting anyway.

Another report out today.
Staff at a Nova Scotia nursing home repeatedly left infirm patients unattended while they went for smoke breaks, including one resident left lying on a bathroom floor, says a Health Department inspector’s report.

The three employees at a unit at the R.K. MacDonald home in Antigonish took their seven-to-15-minute cigarette breaks together outdoors on "several occasions" during the May 5-6 night shift last year.

Donna Dill, director of monitoring at the continuing care division of the Health Department, described the incident as "serious" because "if residents are left unattended anything can happen."

"They’re in nursing homes so they’re supervised and attended," she said in an interview.

The inspector wrote that "when the staff were in the courtyard at midnight, an incident occurred where a resident was found on his bathroom floor. The call bell was pulled by the resident’s roommate, who was requesting for the bathroom light to be turned off."

The report adds there "is no indication as to whether the call bell was ringing while the staff were in the courtyard, or had it just been pulled once they were back in the building."

The report said the bell couldn’t be heard outside the unit, which has 39 beds.
Incidents like "a wet, soapy facecloth " being "placed in a resident’s mouth by a staff member while completing morning care" after the resident lunged at the worker's chest and a question as to the appropriateness of a resident's "relationship" with a female resident due to a decrease in the woman’s mental competency in a home which was understaffed are particularly troublesome to me.

And not just because such things are happening to our senior citizens.

We were very close to having my Mom placed in a nursing home. In fact, we had put her name on the list for placement last February. It was just after we were forced to put her back in the hospital last summer that her name came up on the list for her preferred home. Which spot they promptly gave to someone else, citing a need to reassess her given that she was in hospital. Which, by the way, they never quite got around to doing.

At the time, we were quite upset by the whole thing. Earlier that year, my Mom, my brother and I had visited nursing homes in the local area and had all agreed without question that this was the one we wanted. And I'm sure (or I would like to be) that it would have a really nice place for Mom.

But reading these reports of neglect and abuse ... makes me almost think that it was better that it ended as it did. Because although chances are that she would have received as good or better care in the nursing home as in the hospital, I can't really be sure of that now, can I?

1 comment:

Balancing Act said...

Hey Michelle - thanks for checking in. I am still here but work has been taking over many aspects of my life. So please don't give up on me and check back every so often. Glad you are still here.