Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Regulate PSWs and health care workers

We keep hearing the stories about those who provide intimate care for seniors, with little education and training.

It is crucial that we have standardised training for the women and men who change the adult incontinence products, dress, undress, wash and bathe, and toilet our frail seniors in their homes and public and private care.

The training for Personal Support Workers (PSWs) and health care aides, employed in various retirement homes, Long-Term Care (LTC), by public or private agencies, or my family members, have a grade 12 education, and, perhaps, only a certificate, if that.

Many do a fine job. Others continue to use and abuse, or neglect frail seniors. The videos prove this. And if only one senior can be prevented of this suffering it would be worth it.

Texas 'fight club' trial begins
"A former worker at a Texas state school for mentally disabled people goes on trial for organising fights between the residents."

Unregulated workers can move from company to company. They give medications to seniors, despite the fact that this cannot be part of their job. Nurses must administer Rx.
Some institutions do not even demand a health care certificate.
In the privacy of a home, seniors with dementia can be guilible, and give away their rights, precious family heirlooms, to workers who con them. Sue Grafton's 'T' is for Trespass is a perfect fictionalized example of what can happen.

PSWs who steal, abuse, or do not understand their jobs, can harm seniors. Some give medical advice to both family and patients, without medical qualificiations. This kind of thing I have seen in my late father's LTC home. PSWs diagnosing and giving other families false information regarding an infestation in the home.

Residents were suffering from rashes, which ended up being undiagnosed as scabies. And scabies is an infestation that closes a floor or a wing. An unseen pest, the symptoms are itchy rashes that become infected if not treated or identified by those unable to communicate their symptoms. However, LTC homes are not reporting these 'closures' which is illegal. They cannot close a public facility without the express written consent of the Health Officer.

For this reason, since the PSWs do most of the grunt work, it is important they be regulated, tracked, and supervised more vigilantly than ever before. They are, to their credit, overworked, underpaid and as upset as many family members, since they cannot manage the burden of care. We do not have enough of them. In Central Ontario, they are overburdened, doing extra shifts in tough times, such as flu season. The good ones go from working at a smaller agency, to the larger faclities (e.g., hospitals) that can offer higher wages and benefits.

I would call on the government to regulate and track these people. They need to be trained, given regular upgrading, and discipline to improve the standard of care we expect for our seniors.
The time is now, before the Silver Tsunami hits us. Give these workers dignity, credibility, accountability and respect, and we will, in turn, find our seniors will recieve better care.

News item from Muskoka:

Bracebridge Ontario Provincial Police DATE: August 9, 2009

Theft from the Elderly results in Charges

(Bracebridge, Ont.) Bracebridge OPP are investigating an all too common theft. A caregiver for an elderly female Bracebridge woman has been charged with Theft under $5000.00.

The woman began working as a caregiver and companion for the elderly female in June of 2008. By November of 2008 her family had discovered cash missing from her purse. Over $1000.00 had gone missing during the 6 month period.The Police investigation has lead to Erica GRANT (33 years) of Bracebridge being charged with Theft under $5000.00. GRANT will be appearing in court in Bracebridge on Aug 11 2009.


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