Working with the elderly is as equally rewarding as it is challenging we must salute the care workers meeting the corona virus head-on within our nursing homes. However, I am always mindful that in so many nursing homes they are often run short staffed and with a serious lack of fully trained staff. It is political, everything is, but speaking as somebody with family, friends and clients with loved ones in nursing homes my observations are honest and come from a point of caring for the residents and the staff.
Anybody who has stayed in a nursing home or has family in one know how expensive it is just for a week’s stay. My main gripe has to be that with an increased ageing population and the reality of the high people with dementia that these homes must have more financial support and proper independent policing. Staff must be fully trained and paid a decent hourly rate, with so many taking these roles as a vocation their dedication and endeavours must not go unrewarded and unsupported.
When having a discussion with a fellow colleague who helps deliver cognitive support in a nursing home we challenged why it is expected that so many people offering services should be volunteers? These homes are not charities they are businesses and making a lot of money for the various franchises that own them. I personally witnessed an independent home having been taking over by a franchise certainly experience a deterioration in the care and the quality of food and continually run by under-trained staff expected to run on shortage of staff -so no adhering to the safe ratio of staff to residents. To those family members I recommend visit often (not at the moment obviously) but in usual circumstances if you don’t you will not really be able to judge the level of care your loved one is receiving.
During the Corona virus we are seeing/hearing about clusters of deaths and great dedication of staff who are not considered as front line support when they so obviously are. My concern that staff are not necessarily trained in containment nursing for any bugs or viruses which is unsatisfactory and unsafe for residents and staff alike.
My plea would be that the government need to take a strong and focused look at how these nursing homes are run and not consider the elderly and the staff who look after them as second class citizens….they are not!