"Nursing homes" giving nurses a bad rap - page 5

Hi, Im a nursing student and I'm putting my 2 cents in. I think if the public had a better idea of what nurses do, they would support us and not only insist upon but demand better patient care. ... Read More

  1. by   UM Review RN
    I'm curious. If the OP joined in 2001 and has only one post to his/her credit, might we then assume that the OP is no longer here to see these recent responses?
  2. by   bobnurse
    Why blame the nurses in LTC? Its not their fault that they are short staffed and overwhelmed with completing the tasks for their shift. Its not their fault they have substandard equipment or no equipment at all. I always here people blaming LTC Nurses. I think they do a pretty damn good job for the situation and environment they are in. Instead of picking on the staff, evaluate thier situation. Poor staffing, poor equipment, poor supplies, and poor support. I personally get sick of hearing about LTC Nurse this and LTC Nurse that.....Spend some time looking into their situation/environment that they have to work in. You never see this exploited in the news.

    LTC Nurses are special.......i honor them for what they do. Its in my opinion one of the most difficult fields to work in. Not so much because geriatric patients are harder to take care of, but the fact you are shafted in the equipment, supplies, and stafffing areas. Think about it. IF you work in ICU, Med Surg and so forth.....You have unlimited access to supplies. This is far from true for a LTC Nurse.
  3. by   Mister Chris
    Had to put in my bit about nursing in aged care and some thing that effects us all - getting old and the inevitable (for those who survive long enough) the last phases of our life.
    I have been nursing for over 36 years and am still in there!
    Started in aged care (geriatrics) progressed through psych, mental handicap, general, acute, paediatrics and now finally back to aged care.
    I have just read all of this "Old Thread" and I feel for M2BchgoRN. I was there once too like so many of you who have put in your experienced words of wisdom, opinions, advice and general observations.
    Yes some of the primitive homes I started nursing in - in the UK did smell. Working there also after a short while you smelt too!
    I love my nursing job. I look forward to going to work even. I need them and they need me - or someone to look after them and give them some love and even more important now - give them your time.
    Thanks for the incredible input to this thread. It was worth taking the time to read.
    Mister Chris :Melody: :Melody: :Melody:
  4. by   nckdl
    When i was in nursing school a couple of years ago, I did not want to working in ltc because i thought of it as depressing and have heard all the " bad things" that go on there.My own family didn't want me to work in ltc because they thought of it as abuse and begged me never to put them into those "nursing homes". Well I graduated and started working in yep a nursing home. Come to my facility and ask my patients how they feel about living here. Most of them will tell you that it was their OWN CHOICE to move there from the assisted living place behind our facility. I don't think there is a nurse in our facility that has not laughed or cried with our residents, we sing songs and dance with them and most importantly give them the best care we can give them because they know they cannot give it to themselves. I love my residents and will probably never leave this facility because of the feeling i get when i walk onto the floor at 2pm, I hear laughter and i recieve smiles and i have been thanked for being there that night because i truly believe they know that they are in the best place for them. My family has changed their minds after coming into my ltc facility and seeing that things are different, and even my own young children ask me weekly when can they go back to see all those nice "old" people that i "make all better" and my daughter has already asked when can she work there! Please reconsider what you think of ltc facilities because it will be the most fullfilling and rewarding thing you could ever do.
  5. by   churdlpn
  6. by   churdlpn
    you said exactly what i was thinking as a nurse who has worked in a "nursing home" for 8 years.

    As far as how "it takes only a minimal amount of effort to oversee a group of old people and give them meds".........I really hope you will re-think that one. You said a lot in that statement about how you feel about the elderly. "Oversee a group of old people." No one is ever a GROUP of anything. Any patient you take care of will be an INDIVIDUAL. Yes, there may be similarities, as there are with patients who have COPD, or AIDS or cancer. BUT....EVERY ONE IS AN INDIVIDUAL, and should be treated as such. And cows and horses have someone to "oversee" them........people don't.

    I hope you have the opportunity do a lot of clinical time. I think it will help you to understand what nursing is all about. Good luck.[/QUOTE]
  7. by   Tweety
    Quote from Angie O'Plasty, RN
    I'm curious. If the OP joined in 2001 and has only one post to his/her credit, might we then assume that the OP is no longer here to see these recent responses?

    OMG. I didn't notice this post was so old. Good call Angie!
  8. by   UM Review RN

    It's ok, Tweety. It was one of those fluke things where I left the computer and came back and just sorta noticed that.
  9. by   Antikigirl
    Well, I work in a very top notch assisted living facility...sadly a very expensive one! Even with 5 star services...the residents and family still complain about things...it is all a part of dealing with consumers!

    And I had to have an evil laugh when I saw that phrase about overseeing old people! OH MY!

    Okay...you have three hoyer lift patients, two escorts with w/c, one with excort with walker, and two that get lost and wind up outside...then you may have a few independants...and you have 1 hour to get all their meds down, CBG's and insulins before getting them to the dining room for breakfast (hopefully you have them dressed and tolieted!).

    Now say you are in the middle of a hoyer transfer for the first hoyer patient, and you get buzzed for room whatever because he is having a fit his shoes aren't tied and demanding immediate attention loudly in the hallway in his underwear, and the bed alarm in the other room is going off! Another room has a woman who is complaining that her arthritis is flairing up and needs a tray and her meds right away..."I can't take my meds on an empty stomach!".

    As you lay your resident back into bed to tie the mans shoes and get him going fast, grab and order slip for trays and write that out as you are moving, and hit the bed alarm room on the way to the shoe dude...you hoyer resident has had diarrhea and it is now all over the bed and hoyer sling! Meanwhile you are three seconds too late for the bed alarm and you miss just catching her fall in her bathroom! Unannounced to you Mrs. Arthritis lady is calling her daughter to say that she has buzzed you three times and no responce (older people tend to not know time too well, and five minutes can seem to them like 15!) when she has only buzzed once! Now you have a family member mad..and it is only 0600!

    Typical morning for me and my staff (we oversee 12-15 residents per section), and I have only been awake for 2 hours with barely enough coffee to keep me awake (this is 0500 mind you!).

    BUT we get it all done and done wonderfully! I still don't know what drives us besides the love of the residents and respect for those that need our help!

    Just a scenero for ya there...and it doesn't stop either! Oh yeah...you have orders to process, MD calls to make, treatments to do....it is a run all day long, and I am suprised that nurses continue doing it after a few weeks...but they do..bless their hearts!

    If you see a nursing home you find questionable, look a little deeper or contact an ombudsman to check it out. The only way the not so savory ones still out there is because every one complains but does nothing!

    I have seen some where the staff won't leave dispite things because they fear if they do their residents will suffer and feel they are the only ones that can make this bad situation tollerable for them...so they do their best despite conditions like no staffing, no communication, no equipment, careless staff, etc.

    All families are too responsible for the care of their loved ones..they need to be involved in a proactive stance (not a complaint department separating this essential team!) and if they don't like things...get the resident out! But too many times this is not the case and it is really the family that sent 'grandma/grandpa' out to pasture! Very very sad to watch, and most of us go as much out of our way as humanly posible to be there for these people that feel very abandoned (heck, could be me some day..you never know!).

    There is so much more to the dynamics of working with the elderly and I sure hope you learn them quickly. They aren't "old people" they are seasoned human beings with habits and livestyles they are accustomed to and taken away for the most part when they must move to a facility. And that part is one of the hardest to overcome for both staff and resident/family...(I have seen residents give up, decline meds, and die just because of the will to live is gone once they are moved!".
  10. by   HyperRNRachel
    Quote from M2BchgoRN
    Im a nursing student and I'm putting my 2 cents in. I think if the public had a better idea of what nurses do, they would support us and not only insist upon but demand better patient care. Too many dont realize that the nurses are the ones on the front line and advocating for the patient. Too many people have only encountered nurses when they had their tonsills taken out or when someone in their family needed a C-Section. When my family or my friends families think of nurses, they think of "nursing" homes.
    You know, I'm sure each and every one of you know what I'm talking about. You walk in and are almost knocked over by the smell of urine. You walk down the hall to your loved one's room and try not to look at the pitifull old people lined up and down the hall with their heads hung over, waiting for their morning meds. "It will make them more comfortable" is the reason for this soon to be dead parade. You find your loved one totally incoherent and with unexplained bruises and you wonder what happend to your grandpa(ma) that was so full of life just a month ago.
    Your family may of put them there in good faith, believing that after a temporary family mishap, your loved one would come to live within the family once again or you may assume that this is the place for your loved one to live out his or her golden years (and give you a much needed rest). Unfortunately, your grandpa(ma) only lives a few months after being admitted and you can't understand why. Also your grandparents of your freinds that are in similar "homes" end up only living a few months as well. Soon the community begins to talk and you realize that, this is how nursing homes work. Once someone is admitted, they drug them untill they lose their will to live and just die. It's really a wharehouse for old people waiting to die to make room for the next wave of old people. They must make a half way decent profit as their turn around time is usually 3-4 months at most.
    So when most mid-westerners (at least the ones I have come into contact with) think about nurses, they think about "nurs"ing homes and how it only takes a minimal amount of effort to oversee a group of old people and give out meds.
    You overlooked the "family". Where is the family of the elderly? Are they pointing out everything the nurses should be doing or are the visiting their "loved' one on a regular basis? Is the family forgetting about their loved one? Is the family aware of the needs of their loved one and are they willing to provide the needs? Are they willing to spend less of their time to visit their loved one? Maybe the will to live is lost with the loss of family support not the surroundings or the actions of the nursing home.
  11. by   Antikigirl
    There once was a resident of mine who was very independant till she was walking outside her home and tripped on a sprinkler. She suffered a broken hip, and the poor thing lost all will to live!

    She confided in me..."that all older people are so terrified of falling, because it is what sends you out to pasture quick! Like a horse breaking a leg...but at least humans have enough dignity to shoot the horse instead of letting it suffer alone".

    I wanted to cry! That was so horrible to hear from my patient, and I found others felt the same way. Such a hard thing to change, the mind, and I do my best to show them that this is NOT true...that it is just a change in their adventure/journey and they have things they still need to experience and do!

    She died of pneumonia three weeks later because she had no drive to live. She would not move, get up, eat, take her meds...just begged us to let her go. Her family was tired of watching this, said it made them "too depressed to visit and they had other things to do!". She died without family..just us weeping caregivers/nurses who didn't even get a thank you or time to grieve!

    So many elderly suffer from severe depression and it goes undiagnosed or miss management of medications. This leads to many unsightly images in nursing homes...not that they are not attended to, just the mental state that takes time to heal! If anyone had seen her..they would have jumped on all of us...but she declined, and we can't force...it was her wish...and as hard as that was on all of us...we had to give her that right and dignity to choose her own destiny despite our own feelings...
  12. by   adjusted_halo
    i think it has to do with both. lack of family support, i.e. visiting, checking in on them on a regular basis, etc....and the lack of staffing. u can't possibly give one-on-one attention, like any person needs, not just the elderly, when ur busy handling 20 other patients and THEIR needs.

    i don't think it's the nurses that r giving nursing homes bad reputations, they can only do what they can. i think it's the nursing homes themselves that r giving nursing homes bad names. and quite possibly, maybe one of the reasons these places r so understaffed is because cna's expect to make a lot of money. granted, they we do deserve more than we're normally paid, but i'd much rather work in an afh at minimum wage, getting paid more in the satisfaction of BEING in these ppl's last stage of life, then work in a hospital/nursing home/assisted living place that pays me very well, but gives no opportunity to enhance these ppl's lives on a daily basis. *shrugs* do we need more ppl in this world like me? quite possibly. *grins*
  13. by   leopold
    I am studying to be an LPN and have worked as a CNA in LTC for two years. When I first started I really, really, REALLY hated it, but after a few months I warmed up. I can tell you that for one, we, the staff, nurses, aides, administrators, etc. we LOVE our residents. No matter how long they are there, a few weeks, years, whatever, we always try to find a way to connect with them. We invest so much emotionally into these residents, whether they are completely unable to communicate, whether they're constantly getting into fights, whether they are drug seekers that try our last nerve or whatever is going on with them.

    We do not use any restraints in our facility, they are prohibited. Yes we will put a belt around a patient in a wheelchair if they are very confused and keep getting up and falling, but usually we'll just opt for an alarm. We don't use siderails on the beds, if a resident keeps getting up and falling, we put them on a low bed with a floor pad.

    The nurses I work with are passionate about advocating for the residents and will crawl all over anyone, from aide to doctor, to make sure they get what they need.

    Yes, we do occasionally get the bad seed but they don't last long because EVERYBODY knows and complains.

    We strongly encourage residents to do for themselves and have tons of activities every day. There is also a common room with a huge hi-def TV and lots of areas for residents to get together and socialize. It is wonderful watching a deaf resident with dementia wheeling through the room and waving at the other residents and grabbing their hands and kissing them.

    Families can be a pain that is for sure. A lot of them blame the home for what is happening to their loved ones. Others don't even bother to show up until the resident has died and then stand in the room fighting over who gets what. Others are just wonderful and come in everyday, sit in the wheelchairs and wheel around the room talking to all the other residents.

    I agree that there are some places that are horrible. The first job I had was in a facility where they lined up all the residents against a wall and just left them there all day. They charged them for every depends, every ounce of O2, every tube of toothpaste, every dressing change, everything. I know that somehow residents get charged for all that but it is so much more dignified if it's just built into the bill, not sent as an itemized list to the family each month. I quit that job under very bad terms after a few weeks.

    Working in LTC takes a strong stomach and it can take a while to get used to but there really are decent places out there. And if you find one I can guarantee you that it is an incredibly rewarding experience.