Saturday, January 9, 2010
Case Study #5
In palliative care, when volunteers come in to support and provide relief to the family, often it can be time for a medication. Volunteers and PSWs are not permitted to administer medications. This is the role of a nurse. Volunteers are not trained to lift. Many have health issues of their own.
I have heard of volunteers assisting bed-ridden clients to the bathroom, when they have no training in lifts. If a volunteer in a small community know a client, which can happen, she is hard pressed (as we were) to refuse to take them to the toilet, despite this being in the best interests of both client and untrained volunteer.
One PSW took a client to the bathroom, only to have her collapse. She had no idea, since there was not continuity of care, that this person hadn't been out of bed in two weeks. This was a new PSW to the case, and the records the family had carefully kept did not mention that the client had been confined to bed for days.
If a volunteer listens to the patient, they risk serious injury. My husband, having lifted my father back to bed, ended up 3 years in physiotherapy for a spinal injury.