Published Feb 10, 2003
I work in a very good LTC facility...wonderful staff, wonderful residents...administration could use some improvement, but what can you do?? Anyway in the past month, we have had 8 deaths on our floor...all of these lovely folks were long time residents, except one poor little lady who was only there for one day...nothing surprising, all of them were elderly and ill, but its really tough to go through...you get so involved with them, learn to love their families (well, most of the families)...then they're gone, and all that's left is a stack of papers and a new admit to their beds before its even cold.....used to go to funeral home to see the resident one last time, but I just can't do it right now.... hard old job isn't it???
I agree, as a LTC nurse, you learn to love the res. and the family, but I suppose the reality of a nursing home is they come there to die, not right away, but someday, and we are chosen as the ones to be there at the end..... One day, they are alive, after your two days off, you come in and they are gone. It is sad, as you say that the next admit is there quick...housekeeping cleans the room and you pull the chart and meds and it's like they never were there....
I only went to the funeral of one res., but can't do that anymore. It is just too hard....and a few of my coworkers thought it was inappropriate....
I also think of the poor roommates sometimes, some of these res. have had 2 or 3 roommates.....
Your forgot about walking by thier rooms and just
for a flash their in your mind. sometimes for months or even years. How some come and go (even long term ones) and you can't remember thier names and others stay with you forever. While your co-workers can't remember the ones you do,they remember others. It's avery strange profession.
But of all the nursing jobs I have had in 30+ years. Long Term Care residents have had the most lasting impression on me.
I lost a funny little lady on my hall over the weekend she had been rolling around in her wheelchair no distress or discomfort and just gone the next day. I just loved the way she would smile at people as they walked past, then snicker and whisper to herself little things like I" can't stand her" after they were out of hearing distance . I will miss her always seemed content. Wish I was. deb
One of the things we used to do at a facility I was at in Iowa: we had a memorial service every November. We invited all the families back for this service. Surprisingly enough, it wasn't a sad occasion, it was a time for remembering, sharing, and a closure for staff, residents and families. Almost all the families would attend. It made us seem more like family. I miss that place.
I have quite a different viewpoint I would like to share with you all.I see a resident's death as a celebration or a release.They are leaving a body that has given out on them-leaving the pain and fear behind...They have leither ived a long life or the younger resident is now no longer suffering....I realize that placing a loved one can be very difficult initially but many times it is because the family can no longer deal with their loved one-lucky for them all that someone can.....and thanks to medicare you don't have to be a millionaire..I do feel bad when a resident is only with us for a short time-only because I know what the family is going through and wish we had more time to help them through it.....I don't go to the funerals ...I love my family and have buried both of my parents(55 and 67-both active,working until their illnesses) I am not volunteering for any more hurt...I enjoy my friends on our dementia unit.If I can bring a smile to someone-give a hug-make someone comfortable-make someone laugh out loud-or help someone have a "good" death then I know I have done my best...and they are lucky to have someone that cares because we all know plenty of nurses and cna's and administrators that don't....
My first nursing job was in a Nursing Home. I chose that job with my heart. Remember why you are there. You want to make a difference in your residents lives.
You also need a break. Take a few days off and gain some strength. Eight deaths in a short time is way too much.
Ask Employee Health if they can send a psychologist so that the staff can vent. You all need to process this.
Hope this helps.
Vicki30CNA, CNA, LPN
Before I started this job I had a death phobia. When I found out that part of my job was to ready the body for the morgue I was so stressed!
It has been nearly two years now and when we lose a resident I can be glad that they have passed. I can also be glad that their last days, months, years,... were full of love and care. So many are tired and sick, the life they have is not what they want to continue.
As care takers we make them as comfortable and content as they can until they are called home. I see the nursing home as purgatory with angels!
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