My clinical experience at LTC

  1. I'm a 1st semester LPN student and just finished a 4 day clinical placement at a LTC facility.

    Since I am still so new, the only duties we could perform were very basic. Transfers, AM care, feeding etc.

    I really, REALLY tried my best to keep a positive attitude about LTC, but I found it SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO depressing!!! The facility I was at had about 100 residents, all quite elderly and ill.

    I was assigned to a very sweet 82 year old woman who had had multiple strokes. I didn't think she could speak, but on day 4, we had a long conversation, although speech is quite difficult for her.

    After AM care and breakfast, a lot of the residents want to stay in their spot in the dining room, and they all doze off in their wheelchairs. A few of the less ill/more active ones will wheel over to the common area TV, or to an activity, but most just doze.

    Then lunch and to their rooms for a nap. Most of the residents seem lonley, bored and very unhappy!!!

    My wonderful lady told me during our conversation that she HATES it there. The other residents are so disruptive, she doesn't sleep well and it's her prison . I had already become attached to her and excused myself after giving her a hug so she wouldn't see me cry. .

    The facility is actually quite good in terms of care. She is getting a warm, comfortable room, pretty decent food etc. Her incredibly dedicated husband visits her EVERY SINGLE DAY for hours. Without him, she would probably will herself to die.

    Anyways, I just wanted to get the whole experience out there. I have been thinking about it non stop all week. It reaffirmed for me that I DON'T want to work in LTC when I'm finished my program.

    I do plan to visit this wonderful lady once a week, as the facility is quite close to my home. Hopefully, I can help make her last years somewhat more enjoyable. The whole "prison" comment just stabbed me in the heart
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   Simplepleasures
    Yes it is very sad at times and can be depressing for the patient and the nurse, both of whom usually end up taking anti- depressants.
  4. by   DreamyEyes
    I also thought LTC was VERY depressing. If you're still interested in working with geriatric patients, I would try out assisted living facilities. I work in an ALF now and I love it.
  5. by   Semperdave
    i hate to say this, but welcome to long term care! i am just an aide right now, but that is what it is like for most, i think. it is a prison, of sorts, to most of the residents, regardless of quality of care. but...


    <snip>

    "hopefully, i can help make her last years somewhat more enjoyable. "

    <snip>

    that shows me that you do have what it takes to work ltc, as that is often the reward we get. lord knows it's not the fantastic pay or wonderful scheduling!!! nor the families of the residents being so kind and sweet... :trout:

    best of luck, (and thanks for caring!)

    david
  6. by   racin48
    Hello! I have worked in long term care for over 12 years now. The way I look at it every day when I go to work is I can make a difference in their last days. With the LTC population changing here in my area we are seeing more and more young people. It isn't long before the population will be between 30 and up age wise. If it touched you then you have got what it takes to work LTC but it isn't for everybody. I agree with trying an assisted living facility. Good luck,
  7. by   SuesquatchRN
    Quote from Semperdave
    I am just an aide right now, but that is what it is like for most, i think.
    JUST an aide? Au contraire, mon frere. You are "just" a very important person in the direct care chain of command. The residents depend on your for so much, including gentle help and affection.
  8. by   Rexie68
    Quote from suesquatch
    just an aide? au contraire, mon frere. you are "just" a very important person in the direct care chain of command. the residents depend on your for so much, including gentle help and affection.
    amen, suesquatch! never, never, never is anyone "just" an aide. lpn's and rn's couldn't survive without you. a good cna is the heart and soul of a nursing facility. you know your patients better than anyone, and are our eyes and ears. good nurses learn to respect their cna's quickly!! i only wish we could pay cna's so well that we could pick from a pool of the best! wouldn't that make ltc so much better??
  9. by   Semperdave
    I meant "just an aide" as in I am working on becoming a nurse, but not one yet. I in no way meant to denegrate aides or minimize the importance of their role. And I am glad that nurses recognize the contribution. Now if we could just work on the pay aspect!!!

    My brother, who is an LPN (or LVN), says that a good aide is worth his/her weight in gold, and a bad one ain't worth a stack of dirty briefs.

    Cheers!!

    David
  10. by   pirap
    I entered nursing school in 1994 and my 1st RN nursing school experience was with a VA hospital on the geriatric side/nursing home side. What I saw was appalling! My dad and mostly all my relatives are retired military and it was terrible how badly some of these men were treated. THESE ARE OUR VETERANS!!!!! THOSE STUPID NURSES AND TECHS AND OTHER EMPLOYEES WOULDN'T ENJOY THE LIFE THEY HAVE WITHOUT FOR THOSE VETS! Anyhow, I didn't go back in the spring. I told myself if this is what nursing is all about I want NO part of it. 10 years later I was back in school..older and wiser. I should have been more like you and vowed to make a difference and learn from it instead of getting mad and quiting. I know that is not what your post is about..but my LTC experience just took too much out of me!
  11. by   CoffeeRTC
    Quote from racin48
    Hello! I have worked in long term care for over 12 years now. The way I look at it every day when I go to work is I can make a difference in their last days. With the LTC population changing here in my area we are seeing more and more young people. It isn't long before the population will be between 30 and up age wise. If it touched you then you have got what it takes to work LTC but it isn't for everybody. I agree with trying an assisted living facility. Good luck,

    Hmmm, I had to check to see if I wrote this post. I could have. I've been in LTC for 12 yrs too and so far, I haven't been placed on antidepressants. Someone needs to take care of this population and I'd rather it be me than you. If your heart isn't in it...get out, don't enter.
    Good luck.
  12. by   ktwlpn
    Quote from Ogopogo
    I'm a 1st semester LPN student and just finished a 4 day clinical placement at a LTC facility.
    Since I am still so new, the only duties we could perform were very basic. Transfers, AM care, feeding etc. I really, REALLY tried my best to keep a positive attitude about LTC, but I found it SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO depressing!!! The facility I was at had about 100 residents, all quite elderly and ill.I was assigned to a very sweet 82 year old woman who had had multiple strokes. I didn't think she could speak, but on day 4, we had a long conversation, although speech is quite difficult for her. After AM care and breakfast, a lot of the residents want to stay in their spot in the dining room, and they all doze off in their wheelchairs. A few of the less ill/more active ones will wheel over to the common area TV, or to an activity, but most just doze.Then lunch and to their rooms for a nap. Most of the residents seem lonley, bored and very unhappy!!!My wonderful lady told me during our conversation that she HATES it there. The other residents are so disruptive, she doesn't sleep well and it's her prison . I had already become attached to her and excused myself after giving her a hug so she wouldn't see me cry. .
    The facility is actually quite good in terms of care. She is getting a warm, comfortable room, pretty decent food etc. Her incredibly dedicated husband visits her EVERY SINGLE DAY for hours. Without him, she would probably will herself to die. Anyways, I just wanted to get the whole experience out there. I have been thinking about it non stop all week. It reaffirmed for me that I DON'T want to work in LTC when I'm finished my program. I do plan to visit this wonderful lady once a week, as the facility is quite close to my home. Hopefully, I can help make her last years somewhat more enjoyable. The whole "prison" comment just stabbed me in the heart
    Try another perspective---this ladies "prison" is her body....She is more fortunate then many-she has her husband coming everyday probably catering to her every need and possibly being made to feel guilty by her because he can't take her home.She will probably outlive him. She is getting good care around the clock and is not isolated and alone. She can attend activites of her choice . LTC can be depressing-it is very sad to see how some people suffer. You gave a few minutes of happiness to this lady-imagine doing that every day? Admittedly in LTC I don't have time every day to really spend this kid of quality time with a resident but I try to make a positive impact even for the few minutes I am giving them their meds-a smile,a hug a laugh really mean alot.These folks only experience human contact now through staff administering care and most of it is un-comfortable.I love to hold a hand-maybe rub lotion on the arms and chat when I can.....Instead of limiting your visits to this lady why not explore volunteer ops there? You can make a difference for many-not just one.I have taken my pets in on my days off-what a blast we had.My sister volunteers in an LTC-she sponsors old movie nights.She makes popcorn and they watch a dvd and then talk about it afterwards...She also does manicures-the LOL's LOVE that...We need nurses like you in LTC...think about it..

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