|Wednesday, 09 March 2011 ||
I have read through this website, and I am amazed at how much work has gone into it. It is very impressive.
My mother has been in a nursing home for several years and I've observed power being routinely abused by staff where she lives. I feel there is a game going on.
Accountability is, in my opinion, a vital ingredient when one group of people have power over another group. Especially when one of the group's is vulnerable physically and emotionally.
I think Government regulators are incapable of implementing a system of justice and empowerment for Nursing Home residents, that's why it isn't happening. Simple observations tell me this.
For example, why haven't I been independently surveyed by Government regulators?
I'm noted as a key person in my mother's life, I visit the nursing home every couple of weeks. I could provide feedback about what I've experienced, observed and feel. It's never happened.
Why aren't residents routinely independently surveyed about how they are 'experiencing' living in a nursing home, how staff are treating them etc. It is all about attitude, if staff get away with mistreating residents, have attitudes more akin to prison warders than compassionate friends and that's not addressed, well I guess residents become victims.
I've had difficulties dealing with staff at my mother's nursing home, I often feel disempowered, and I'm only a visitor.
What chance does my mother stand of being empowered, none!
That is why I think there is a game going on. Regulators who want us to believe printed statements/principles about justice intent ensures justice, are lacking in accountability, the same as nursing home staff who are mean and miserable to residents.
If nursing homes surveyed their residents every few months and gave them the opportunity to comment on how each staff member treated them and then posted the results for all to see, then the staff with bad results would either get additional support and/or training, improve or resign. Now that is accountability!
If said staff were surveyed about the attitude of management, eg, do management respond appropriately to their concerns/needs, solve problems in a timely manner, treat them with respect, empower them etc and the results were also publically posted, then this would add another layer of accountability.
Then of course there is the whole issue of what people are paid, yet another issue of accountability. If care staff feel underpaid, they are going to become resentful, and who is likely to cop their resentment! I'm sure that providing good emotional support to care staff in regard to what they do would also help them remain more centered.
Elderly people who are in nursing homes are sometimes going to 'act out', this can be distressing for staff. How are staff supported when things go wrong?
These are not things which feel good for her or for me, yet this has been her reality as a resident of a nursing home.
As an individual who cares about her, I've been shocked by the above practices, which by the way, only became evident after she and I dared to complain about some aspects of her care.
I'm not sure how accountability can be implemented in nursing homes, but in my opinion it is the only way to improve things.