Thursday, January 7, 2010

System failures - portraits of home care

This is Case Study #1, cont'd from a previous post

One man I know has debts that have sent him in to the bowels of depression and addictions: beer, cigarettes. He is in hospital, dehydrated, has had two total blood transfusions. They are still doing tests to determine the cause of his dehydration, poor blood counts, diarrhea.

He has a social worker, and has had a PSW to clean twice a week. Neither seem to be of any use. Neighbours, from the local church, had to argue with the visiting nurse to send him to hospital. He is unable to take his medications at the right time. The bubble packs do not work for him, for cognitive, emotional or physiological reasons, he takes a pill when he feels he needs it, along with his beer.

Once he is discharged, he will come home to this filth: feces, cigarettes ashed mixed with beer on the floor, pills lying around on tables, filthy dishes left on the sink for a month, a refrigerator with three-dimensional mold.

The phone, cut off by Bell, seems to ring and is usually collection agencies. His debts are in the 4-digit range, through various credit card companies continuing to send him new cards and piling up more debt. He is unable to manage his home, let alone his finances.

The dog, God bless him, continues to be walked by neighbours, with a brother paying for dog food. His mother is helpless, since she cannot convince the man to find ALC.

I cannot imagine how PSWs can go into such a situation and work.

CCOHS: Canada's National Centre for Occupational Health and Safety ...

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) promotes a safe and healthy working environment by providing occupational health and safety.

Occupational Health and Safety Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. O.1

Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act (Violence and Harassment in the ...... and 20 to 27 of the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act (Canada).


ian said...

"They develop inappropirate sexual relationships with clients."-Really? And do you know these things for a FACT or do you sometimes listen to gossip? SOME PSWs may be abusing clients, but others are not and are sometimes falsely accused (or its insinuated). They may or may not be fired-and may be dogged by undeserved gossip and mistreatment by citizens of different cities while trying desperately to find peace. Agencies often do nothing to restore a PSW,s tarnished reputation-these things I know for a fact!

Jenn Jilks said...

Yes, I do know this for a fact. As a teacher I was falsely accused and my union backed me up. It is a familiar story.

Of course, Ian, this goes both ways. The excellent PSWs, I wrote about them in my book. I owe much gratitude to. The ones who screw up hit the front pages and you know, 'If you bleed, you lead' in the headlines.

Most PSWs go out of their way to meet the needs of clients. They work hard. Human nature being what it is...gossip is a huge issue in all workplaces.

We seldom celebrate the great PSWs, but this is why PSW Canada is working so hard to demand regulations, accountability, support and representation for PSWs.
Everyone deserves the best care, from well-paid, trained caregivers who are proud of what they do.

Paul PSW said...

wow brings back memories for me as Health Care Aide doing home care.
My heart would sink in dispare of how this happens.
I did my best by volunteering my time unknown as would loose my job. Cleaned the mess up!!
How does the system allow it to happen? Does go on this not the only case I have seen.