Last last week a new resident moved into our unit. I'm not sure what her story is, but previous to coming to the nursing home she lived on her own in a senior citizen highrise. For people who are confused moving into a new place full of people you don't know & suddenly having a roommate is a very difficult transition.
This particular resident is having trouble sleeping at night - so she rings her call bell a zillion times. It's sometimes frustrating because we each have 20 residents to take care of. There's definitely time to devote a little one-on-one time to each of them, but it's really hard to constantly be running back to her room "just to chat."
But, we've all done our best, because becomming familiar with her surroundings & the new people is what she really needs.
So imagine my surprise when we got report from the nurse last night & were told that this resident's family requested that she have all her meals back in her room (and stay in there pretty much the entire day...alone) because they don't want her in our dining room "seeing some of the other residents."
And I knew exactly what residents they were referrinf too. There are people with end stage Alzheimer's desease, who have totally lost the ability to speak, but who frequently have loud vocal outbursts. There are people who have lost the ability to move their arms & legs, so they are very contracted in their chairs. These people are elderly & can't do things the way they used to, so some spill their food.
But, these are still people. They deserve to be treated with dignity & respect, not only by our staff, but by visitors as well. They are not the scourge of the earth. They are someone's parents & grandparents.
I know the stigma that sourrounds nursing homes. And I also know that, if you're not used to it, some of the things you see can be jarring. But at the end of the day our purpose is to take care of those who simply can't do it on their own anymore. Those things are meant to be embraced so that these residents have a good quality of life until the end.
The ignorance of some people will never cease to amaze me.