Well - can't say I LOVE LTC, but I do like
LTC, which would probably shock a lot of my CNA classmates. Part of the reason I wanted to work at this particular one was that the 15 students that did their clinicals there all just dogged the place - "antiquated equipment","surly nurses", "cliquish" - m'goy, you've never heard such whining in your life!
Got over there, and yeah some of the beds have hand cranks, and yeah the staff can be pretty crabby at times, and yeah working around elderly folks isn't necessarily everyone's cup of tea - but.
Every member of that staff kicks some serious ass when it comes to patient care. No - I don't get along with all of them, but they all get it in regards to the idea that "the patient comes first". Given some of the behavior I've seen in area hospitals, it's a nice change of pace.
As for the residents - got popped by one during my first month. Now - I'm about the only one she'll let near her. Visited with her this afternoon (after an aborted ortho appointment with another resident) - went from howling to a big cheery smile when she saw me. She's also a hospice patient, and I'm well aware that her time is coming so I keep a bit closer tabs on her than the other folks I work with. Got another one - severe contractures, cerebral palsy, speech aphasia - the lady's in pretty bad shape. She started howling when we got her to the hospital for a cardiac eval - just started speaking to her softly & stroking her head & face; calmed right down. Took her in for a renogram couple of days ago; same thing. Figured out that she was getting agitated by the bright lights and activity, so we put her off in an isolated area and just spoke to her softly with light touches on her head & face; got a smile out of her for that one.
Let's see - a few weeks ago, one of the first residents I worked with on nocs passed away. I was checking to make sure the personal belongings of all the residents had their name & room number on them; he was sleeping at the time (yep - checked breathing, skin tone, etc. when I entered the room). Couple of hours later, looked up and the door was shut. Turned out he had an MI in his sleep & never made a sound, just crossed over quietly. Spent the rest of the shift reflecting on our night-time conversations, his continual battling with his room-mate over the privacy curtain, his wittcisms (retired college prof, BTW) & how much I'd learned from him in the short time we had together before he confronted the mystery.
Another one - had another resident who was on that run who was a hospice patient; generally pleasant person, spent some time feeding her & chatting with her; she was there for about 2 1/2 weeks & passed on in her sleep as well.
My point - for me, working in LTC isn't a long-time career goal because I'm looking at moving into hospice care. However, LTC has one of the reasons I'm looking at hospice - that one-on-one interaction with the patients, and the knowledge that by doing what I do I'm making a positive difference in these people's lives. No - can't make them 20 years old again, can't make their bodies whole & strong; but I can make their lives just a little bit easier by being the best CNA I can be. What I will take with me (along with a buttload of floor skills) is the memories of the people who's lives I've touched, and those who I helped move on into another plane of existence.
Nope - it's not a hospital, but not all hospitals are healthcare Shangri-La and not all LTC's are hellholes.