Friday, January 16, 2009

my friend

Living in Long-Term Care (LTC) is an irony. In the 'good old days' it was called a nursing home. The nursing time is much less, as Personal Support Workers (PSW) so most of the physical care, while the RNs handle more of the medical issues, i.e., handing out pills, and giving medical care (called Primary Care).

This is a photo of my friend's display case. She is paraplegic, with spinal stenosis and arthritis. We laugh, a lot. When my father was dying of his brain tumour, we would visit.

The Ministry tells staff at her LTC residence that they cannot feed her in her room, due to government policy. The rules say that residents cannot eat in their rooms - we presume for a safety issue.

Unfortunately, they cannot find a lift that does not give her pain.
The correct lift, which they had at her previous residence is $17,000.

This means that if she does not endure the pain of getting out of bed, then she cannot eat. Apparently, they are allowed snacks, but not meals. In addition, if it weren't already bad enough, M. cannot endure the pain of the lift to get her into their 'spa', AKA large bathtub for her weekly bath. Yes, weekly. Staff also says that they cannot shave her arms and legs, due to safety issues. She feels dirty and unkempt.

This wounds awfully bizarre, but M. is a retired nurse, and on morphine all the time. I am trying to advocate for her. We have been trying to read the Resident's Bill of Rights to see if it applies. She cannot feel clean without her baths, yet the pain of the lift is excruciating. I have been there when they try to lift her.

She cannot make a complaint, since the institution is in compliance. It is the Ministry rules that most thwart the efforts of staff to meet her individual needs. There is no where where we can get help, as the Ministry, in its infinite wisdom, assumes that their rules and regs. apply fairly to all residences. Is there no way for this woman to eat alone in her room, without staff being afraid of violating Ministry rules?

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