Sunday, September 8, 2013

Nursing home diaries

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I want to touch more on what to expect as a Social Worker in a nursing home.  The latest book by an author who mostly covers rules and regulations, barely scratches the surface about the personal toll the job takes on Social Workers.  My books cover that subject.

The rules and regulations, except for trying to keep track of Medicare and Medicaid fraud, are bogus anyway.  Yes, examiners on the state and federal levels should make sure people living there are safe from harm, but most rules imposed by government guidelines are bogus.  Why?  Well governments, when faced with a public outcry about how 'Mom', Grandma, or Grandpa or Dad, is treated is usually met with a government response of 'Let's throw money at the problem to fix it, or let's just make impossible rules, to fix it.'  The government agencies are hoping rules, rules, rules, will somehow solve the problems.  Governments swing too far in one direction or the other.

In reality what in hell does it matter if my clothes in my closet are regulated and measured so as to be 'just the right' distance from the closet ceiling?  Why should nursing homes be run on the Medical Model without question?  Do we all want to be living in a damned hospital in our later years?  Why in hell do they need to use industrial washing machines and dryers just so I cannot have anything nice because those damned machines ruin all my clothes?

Why does staff feel the need to talk to the elderly as if they have now returned to the age of 3, especially if they are alert and oriented as you and I are?  

The Biggest question of all is:  Why in hell does staff pass themselves off as the 'experts' on elderly?  Experts on what they like, their sleep patterns, their eating habits and worst of all, what they think the elderly need?  When you attend a care plan meeting and some nurse says: "Well this is normal or not normal"  Bull shit!  Even doctors and your best scientists have hardly a clue about what happens when we grow old.  Know why?  Because most people have never before, in history, gotten to live as long as we do now.  Medical science now helps us live longer, but in the past, we didn't and therefore they had no subjects in large numbers to study.  Medical science helps us live longer, but have, as yet, figured out what to do with us when we do get old.  Stuffing us in nursing homes so we can be studied like lab rats is a good thing?  If a person's quality of life is gone, it's simply prolonging their agony, but nursing homes see it as prolonging their paychecks from Medicaid and Medicare as long as faint hearts beat.  Aren't Social Workers supposed to be agents for change, helping to make life better for their clients, not lackeys running errands in some corporate run human warehouse?    Food for thought.