Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Violence, yes, but joy and love in LTC

Violent attacks at Canada's long-term care facilities are not isolated incidents.  A study from Laval University published in 2005 found that more than one in five older residents at long-term care facilities act aggressively. For the PDF file, click here.

From a PSW's post:
You could study the problem out the ying yang and pay consultants and committees. But the problem is simply lack of hands on care staff. On my unit, each caregiver has to provide total care and supervision for at least eight to ten patients on a day shift, 14 on an evening shift and 26 on a night shift. Fifty percent of them require total care, including mechanical lifts, bed to chair, and the other fifty percent are confused. Front line staff limp home from work. Emotional and physical burn out is inevitable and sick time is simply awful. More importantly the residents are rushed and unhappy. WE NEED MORE STAFF. PERIOD and these horrible episodes would never happen.
A resident plays Wii every day!

As long as Canada permits for-profit long-term care, as long as there are no regulations regarding the training of PSWs, as long as older facilities have 4-bed wards, we will continue to have incidents like these.

I was very happy with the treatment my father had in his LTC - in terms of protecting him. Most of the staff with whom I have worked, are exemplary, caring dedicated workers. He managed to pull the fire alarm once, he knew he needed help. Another time, he got into a fight with another man in a wheelchair. My father was the least violent man I knew.

I am surprised that there are NOT more incidents. That said, I have regularly visited long-term care (we don't call them 'nursing homes' anymore) as a family member, and a volunteer, at all hours of the day, and in Central and SE Ontario, since 2006. I have never witnessed a violent incident.

My late father, for example, was up in the night. He was agitatedangryanxious and apathetic at times. (The four A's of dementia)

PSWs need regulation and training standards. A 14 module certificate course, with no requirements for upgrading or continuing education, we have people with varying degrees of training.

That said, there are many places where staff are going the distance.
Where I volunteer we have musicians in twice a month. This involves getting the with limited mobility into the elevator, and along into the activity room. This is time consuming for activity aides, and is a good time to volunteer in a LTC.

This is so much fun. A Chartwell LTC that did a flash mob! Great exercise, lots of fun!

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