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Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014

Regulate less

Tuesday, November 20, 2001

Well, nursing home abuse has been on the news again. It is a fact that abuse and neglect happen, but as a certified nurse aide, I can tell you firsthand that a whole lot of the bruises and broken bones are the fault of the state regulators. The very people who are crying foul actually contribute to a lot of accidents.

For instance, I have a resident who continues to fall out of bed. We can't use the side rails because the resident's family doesn't want the patient restrained, the doctor hasn't written an order to use the side rails and the state says the resident shouldn't be restrained. So the resident spends more time on the floor than on the bed. I have a resident who slides out of the wheelchair. We can't use a safety belt on the chair for the same reason as the bed rails. The state regulators consider restraints abuse.

Doctors try to stay away from writing orders to restrain residents. They sometimes write an order for one side rail. The resident falls off the other side of the bed; or an order for a wheelchair lap buddy restraint, which the resident can remove at will. Who's to blame?

Another thing that happens quite often is the residents constantly fight with each other. They hit, kick, bite, scratch. A family comes in to visit their loved one and see a black eye, an scratches, bruises and skin tears. They automatically assume their loved one has been abused by the caregiver and complain to the state. They never seem to notice the bruises and scratches on the caregiver who the resident has beaten the crap out of.

I have scars from my elbow to my wrist from being scratched. I see caregivers with bruises, broken fingers, black eyes - all caused by the resident. Unless a person has worked in a nursing home, they don't know what happens in one. But a great deal of accidents could be prevented with less regulation from the state and more input from the owners and families. Recently one of our corporate owners gave away over a million dollars, that put a feather in his cap.

I don't mind biting the hand that feeds me. The nurses are leaving this area in droves for better wages and benefits. Fund-raisers are held by volunteers all year long so each resident gets a Christmas present. And the owners have millions to give away.

It costs over $100 a day for a resident to live in a nursing home. They deserve excellent care and the families have a right to expect the best care possible. Substandard wages will not guarantee quality help. The best workers follow the best wages. We work with skeleton crews, which means the residents wait longer for care. We have to draw the line.

Before you holler abuse, neglect or some other complaint, the nursing profession (especially nursing homes) are crying out for help. Roll up your sleeves and volunteer, or better, become a certified nurses aide.

You family members who sometimes feel guilty for putting your loved ones in a nursing home, don't ever feel that way because in most of the homes, the residents get the best loving and quality care anywhere in the world; especially the ones I look after at Hunter Acres Caring Center in Sikeston.

Larry Coram, Oran