Its early 2001, New Year’s Eve. I have been up since 7am. I have two jobs, one full time one per-diem as a CNA in a couple of facilities. Ive been working since 3pm and will work until 7am.
I have, at one location, a total of 15 long term, rehabilitation patients. These guys and dolls are mostly able to communicate, but they need special attention. Some have feeding tubes, existing wounds, mobility issues, and many have cognitive impairment.
I move as quick as a rabbit. Room to room. I provide fresh water, clean up the patient and help them to eliminate. I soothe their minds about the road they have to walk. Its not an easy job to recover. My goal here is to help them out of the nursing home, instead of keeping them as permanent.
Blood pressures, respirations, intake and output, all charted. All is well as I close my first shift.
I have an agreement to be an hour late to my next shift. It’s a nursing home across town. This place is horrible. The smells, and the despair are oozing through every pore in this place. I am now over night, they are sleeping as much as they can.
I have 23 long term permanent residents under my care now. Every 2 hours I check to see that they are comfortable. I clean up the incontinent and I watch over the dying. This is a good time to slip into the other side. I feel like there are way to many people for me to care for.
I have to wake at least 5 of these people up, before God is awake, just to cart them into the bath. They are tired, and are unable to resist. I must do my job, but I cant understand where the dignity of a good nights sleep and a bath when you want one went.
I cry every day. I cry until I sleep.
I did this so long that I just couldn’t do it anymore. I had to change my situation so I opted to apply for a nursing agency. At least here I can chose where, when, and how I want to do what I love.
I get to take care of a few that are independent and mobile. They are in a home care setting. They get up when they want, they eat what and when they want. They have such stories and memories. They hang on the walls as photos and paintings, they come as old stories of times of love and hope.
This is dignity.
I think the culture in America is screwed. When you cant take care of your loved one alone, but they are not ready in any way for that fresh hell of facility living, we tend to just throw them into a home. They sit forgotten and neglected.
Home care, private duty, is where my heart lies. I have a strong opinion that home care should always be an option as long as the patient can do it. If there is a fall risk, or a choking risk, you can hire an aide like me, who is fully trained to deal with this. And you can do it from home.
I understand that some cases are more dificult, and if the safety of your loved one is in jeopardy and you need to provide constant care, then work with your loved one, your healthcare provider, and your insurance to make sure they get care. However, nursing home care is simply undignified and only necessary if constant care is needed.
I want to be a private duty aide. I really don’t want to deal with the rigours of caring for 30 people a day, who need full, 24 hour care. I don’t wish to be pushed farther than I can handle, and I despise coming home and reviewing my day with the fear I forgot something.
No, one or three beautiful souls at once, and my total attention to their needs. I want to feel that I have completed a day and that I didn’t get pushed to neglect, just because of the nursing home mill.
Just my opinion, I am for hire!
Your Friend David