Choose your occupation wisely

( This letter is to those who are working as nurses and CNAs in nursing homes for the money they make and not because they really have an affinity for our elderly generation. If you don’t love working with the elderly then you should not be working there.

After my recent experiences with my father in two area nursing homes I have seen the good and the bad. Sadly, the bad have left the taste of rotten apples in my mouth. Those rotten apples are making the good ones look bad. You seem to forget that you are taking care of somebody’s father, mother, grandfather, grandmother and some cases even their children. The elderly have been through so much in their lifetimes that they deserve your respect and care. They do not deserve to be treated as if they are a bother to you. You should be treating them as you would want your own parents treated.

Since the end of February my dad has been in two Sebring nursing homes. Both are fairly close to each other near downtown Sebring. The first one was OK but he wound up being hospitalized twice while he was there for the same thing he had when he was originally hospitalized. Guess they weren’t watching his condition as well as they should have been as he sat and filled up with fluid. …

We put him in the one that he had chosen a long time ago for assisted living when the time came. They had the nursing care section and the assisted living. He was admitted after his last hospitalization to the health care section.

He seemed to be going downhill fast and was either sleeping in his wheelchair or mumbling in confusion. Yes, his medical problems had caused dementia to roar its head but it seemed more than that. With the arrival of two of my sisters to town the answer became clear. They were able to spend more time at this nursing home … It was found out that if a CNA told him at 9 p.m. that it was bedtime, he would refuse to go. He is used to staying up until 11 p.m. or later. Once he was asked and refused it was documented that he refused. This confused, elderly gentleman was left in his wheelchair for the night to sleep. Since he was not being put to bed of course his TED hose were left on. They are supposed to be put on before the person gets out of bed and taken off at bedtime. His were on for three days straight and actually cut into the tops of his feet due to swelling.

Although in diapers he went for four days without a shower. He was often in dirty clothes and for the first three days he was there they had him in his roommate’s pants, not his own.

He is now in a place where the care is excellent. He is clean each time I go up and more aware of what is happening. Seems sleeping in a bed every night has done a lot of good for him. He is getting excellent wound care…

So, if you are in nursing school or plan to become a CNA and you don’t like to care for people with dementia or change diapers, don’t go to work in a nursing home. Our elderly deserve better then what you have to give them. I am a nurse and have worked at a hospital and in home health. I worked as a CNA before going for my nursing license and worked in a nursing home. I cared about the people I took care of and I worked to give them the dignity and respect they deserve.

Diane L. Thibodeau LPN

Sebring, FL