Friday, June 12, 2015

A Visit with Jack

Yesterday I visited my friend Jack.  Jack is a 92 year old World War II veteran who lives in a local nursing home.  Jack has a lot of complaints about the nursing home.  Many of those complaints are justified while some are just because he might be in a grumpy mood.

One thing however is true.  There is a great deal of turnover in the help at the facility and too many of those people are not trustworthy.  By this I mean very often a resident's valuables go missing.  Sometimes it's because another resident took them but other times it's because of the help.

Take for example what happened the other night.  Jack got up to use the bathroom.  He's supposed to ring for assistance but he wants to do things on his own.  Well, sure enough, he had a dizzy spell, fell and banged his head.  The ambulance was called and he was taken to the hospital.  Later that night he was returned to the home and put in bed.  The next morning he was OK but he couldn't find his watch.  He remembers on of the night people removing it from his wrist but the next day no one knew anything about it.  It's a possibility someone absentmindedly put it in her scrub pocket but she's been out so they haven't been able to check. 

It's this kind of thing that happens with great frequency.   Another example-I often bring Jack a large bag of those small Hershey chocolates.  He loves chocolate.  The problem is he would have one or two, put them in his night table drawer and the next morning most of them would be gone.  The night people like chocolate too.

It's very difficult to get good help in homes like this.  They pay minimum wage and the training is insufficient. The reason for this is to keep costs down but because of it, the residents suffer. 

So what's the solution?  Diligent family.  Fortunately Jack's brother is on top of all of this but there are many others who have no family or whose family doesn't care.  It's not even possible for a friend like me to intervene because friends have no legal rights over a resident's care.

It's quite a problem and even worse from one state to the next.  Getting sick when you're old is not fun.

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