Archive for November 28th, 2010|Daily archive page

In the news

The Alz center was in the news last week for a day or two. Apparently police were investigating a single case of alleged abuse of a patient by a staff member. A news report about that case led a woman whose husband died at the center to file her own police report about injuries he had when he died that a hospital physician described as unusual.

My reaction is that I am not alarmed. I am hopeful the family members of the residents who ended up with unexplained injuries might have been mistaken – that the injuries, at least in one case, could have been self-imposed by the patient. Or that maybe another patient caused the problems. But I am also not delusional. I know that there are bad apples out there in ALL professions, and that the actions of these bad apples should not harm an entire facility or institution’s reputation.

What did bother me, but didn’t really surprise me, were the viewer comments posted on the TV news station’s website after the story aired. I often read comments – I am interested in other people’s opinions, for some reason. But I should really stop it. The Internet has been kind to me in many ways – this blog, for instance – but it has invited so many irrational comments by people empowered by their anonymity to say the cruelest and most thoughtless things. And I get really riled up about it, which is why I should really stop reading comments on news sites.

I read all 106 comments on the website after the first report. So many people are quick to complain about nursing homes – those with experience and those without. There is so much judgment out there, and SO much ignorance about long-term care, and especially about how different this particular nursing home is from others. One commenter said the place should be shut down – and to that person, I ask, will s/he take in my mom, then, and provide her with 24-hour specialized dementia care? Also among the comments were a couple of notes from a woman from support group who had her husband at home for years before moving him into the Alz center in August. She briefly said she thought the care at the center was fine – excellent, even – and that she is there every day to see what it’s like. She used her actual first and last names. And more than one follow-up commenter accused her of being an Alz center staff member fraudulently posing as a family member. The nerve of some people. I have a feeling she doesn’t really care. I thought about posting under my own name that she is a real person, and also voicing my support for the center. No matter how compelled I feel to participate, though, I just can’t bring myself to engage with people who obviously don’t give a damn what a person WHO ACTUALLY KNOWS WHAT IS GOING ON AT THE CENTER thinks or knows for a fact.

Now, if there is an abuser on the staff, I certainly will be distressed to find out this is the case. But I trust the leadership of the center to do the right thing in the event that this turns out to be the case. I know many staff members by name and many others by sight. And I see how they act when no one is likely to be looking. They are gentle and loving with the residents for the most part. And they are working constantly. I think people who do this work are generally regarded as low-skill workers because they don’t need advanced education to be nursing aides. Perhaps that is the case. But at the Alz center, they have to have a heart. And I know that most of them do.

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