Deserving better

Retired RN and concerned family member of resident in extended care responds

I write in response to the well-written article published recently in The Morning Star, “Advocating for loved ones” by Justine Reams, a registered care aide, now seeking her bachelor’s degree in social work.

My response comes as a concerned family member of a resident of a North Okanagan extended care facility, and my personal observations as a retired RN.

The unit is comprised of two wings, which has allowed, very easily, for a division of the care-givers into two  teams, one for each wing.

Management of the unit made the decision (with no prior consultation with residents, families or caregivers) to implement a new “care” plan.

The plan was implemented in October 2011.

It involved changing the existing plan from a two-team system  which provided high-quality total nursing care for 25 residents, to the new care plan which requires the shifting of all care aides frequently and intermittently back and forth to care for all 50 residents.

Objections, reasoning and requests by those of us concerned to revert to the two-team plan fell on deaf ears, and continue to do so.

Much has been lost in the change.

Personal care becomes institutional and task-focused, which includes, among other things, further loss of dignity for the residents.

For example, under the two-team system, total care, particularly in toileting and cleansing of very private body areas that had been done by trusted and known members of a familiar team,  now includes a large number of unfamiliar caregivers, viewed be these elderly residents as strangers.

How can a resident not feel a loss of dignity in that?

Anyone who does not recognize that aspect is making the cruel assumption that the residents will “get used to it.”

These dear elderly people, including my beloved family member, deserve better.


Muriel Sanderson (RN retired), Vernon