Thursday, June 16, 2011
From The Reason Why Traditional Nursing Homes in America Suck
The matter of private rooms and showers and bathtubs brings us to the barbaric concept of the shared showers in nursing homes. Imagine being a resident and it is shower time. The staff makes the decisions about showering rituals, such as times and how often you will get them. Imagine it is ‘time’ for your shower; you are placed in a chair on wheels made from white tubular pipes. This sort of chair, where you are usually stark naked, is cold and very sterile, but, hey, it is easier for staff to keep clean, so never mind your comfort. Staff can also wheel it right over the toilet without having to remove you from the chair, sort of like ‘one stop shopping.’ This practice alone is barbaric and is really where the warehousing affect kicks in for residents in facilities. Staff tries their best to cover you, maybe they succeed and maybe your bare backside and bare back is showing as you are wheeled down a long, cold hallway to a community shower. This huge shower room is shared by every other resident who lives in the facility. You are wheeled into the community shower to be greeted by a hand held shower head on the end of a long hose. If you can shower yourself, you get to hold the device. If unable to do it yourself you will be soaped up, usually starting with your hair and drenched with the cascading water from the shower hose after being soaped from head to toe. All of this wonderful ‘treatment’ will be performed while you are still sitting in the cold, horrible chair on wheels made from plastic pipes. Well folks, this amounts to no more than a car wash for human beings. If I am fortunate enough to have my own soap products to keep my skin from drying out I get to use them. If I am not that fortunate, I get to use industrial types of shampoo and soaps all created with no soft skin in mind at all. Industrial type soap is just what elderly people do not need at a time when their skin is becoming paper thin and with quite a bit of dryness setting in because they are older. Imagine having dementia and the world now appears scary to you and all of a sudden a waterfall of rushing water is blasted over your head. This would bring us right back to the ‘behavior’ section mentioned before. This kind of startling motion would trigger a behavior in even the best of us with our minds intact, much less a person with dementia. After being rinsed, I am still in this damned chair more than likely covered with goose bumps; the room is chilly because it is difficult to warm such a large room anyway. I am dried from head to toe, probably rubbing my delicate skin with scratchy towels after using industrial soaps. None of this is conducive to my well being, my delicate skin being able to heal, nor to being treated as a human being. All of this is designed for efficiency, to run people through a human car wash and get the ‘task’ done as quickly as possible in an eight hour shift. This is not the kind of treatment I look forward to in a nursing home where I get to pay upwards of over $5,000 per month to live there. For $5,000 per month I could live in a grand hotel with room service and mints on my pillow and heated towels. Instead, I get to pay this huge amount to be treated like some piece of meat in a meat market.