Especially without a lawyer present. Had a sit-down with my family and various brass at Mom's retirement home yesterday, right down to the (not so long on the job) Chief of Nursing. There were promises that the guilty were being disciplined and heads would roll, etc., etc. Also "education" would be addressed. --What, stuff like the most basic of basic First Aid? Seriously, staff's weak on that? What are they, custodian's in nurse's scrubs?*
Don't know about heads but my eyes were. It was all "the floggings will continue until morale improves," with little to no understanding that these incidents -- and other, lesser, failings -- are only happening on nights and weekends. They're indicative of a profoundly alienated (and probably insufficient) staff, especially at the lowest levels: they don't see managers unless they screw up and get yelled at, written up or worse and, in the way of nights & weekends everywhere, they figure if they do the very minimum (or fake it), then that's just that much less to screw up and chewed out about.
This is one thing if you're stamping out cheap plastic widgets down to The Plant or stocking shelves at BiggieMart; it's a very different thing if your work product and client base is elderly, fragile, vulnerable human beings.
I don't want my Mom to go back there, especially to their "rehab" (almost-a-hospital-looking) wing. But she chose the place, her only surviving sister is there, too, and during days and evenings, you couldn't ask for better. Outside those hours, it's another matter. Even at the hospital she's in at present, doctors and paper-pushers are looking at her injuries and asking, "You're sure you want to go back there when we release you?"
An important element here is that Mom's as all-there as you or me. She's not strong, she's physically fragile, but she know what's going on. She decides for herself.
I'll tell you what, in the early days of my retirement, I intend to take up high-risk adventures, because when I imagine myself in Mom's position, there will be nobody to act as my advocate -- and I am not convinced my sibs and I are advocating effectively enough with three of us and a couple of well-adult nieces who just happen to be nurses (one's a Nurse-Practitioner!) to advise. I think -- I hope -- we can get Mom decent care, even in the off hours, but it's going to be a struggle, and I don't think the management of that retirement home is going to be much use. They don't see nature of the problem and it has somehow failed to register that there are more jobs for nurses and aides than there are qualified workers: push 'em too hard and they just go elsewhere.
Oh, the administrators and managers running scared right now -- they should be; this would be a great story for the evening news and an even better lawsuit; I'm sure a little digging would turn up plenty more incidents happening to other patients and when you walk into court with a line-up like that.... Well! There are other considerations, though: run a line-up of vulnerable seniors through days and weeks, possibly months of a trial? Let defense attorneys pick their testimony to bits? And having sued one facility, where are you going to put them that won't see them as ticking bombs instead of people in need of decent care?
I have no answers.
* See, this is why people tell me I'm harsh and unfeeling -- which as near as I can figure, means I won't pretend bullshit is reality. Hey, that's my Mom, the closest I had to an ally in an unhappy childhood. Tell it to the Marines.
4 months ago