Catch-22

We had one resident in the Alzheimer’s ward who was angry most of the time.

Not all of the time. When children were present he would smile and laugh and just be a joy to be around. It was an amazing transformation.

But most of the time, he was mean as a snake. And unfortunately, when he was at his worst he would shit the bed and refuse to leave it.

One of the awful Catch-22s of working in a nursing home is that a patient has an absolute right to refuse treatment. Even if they have dementia. Even if the choice is against their own self-interest. To knowingly act against their wishes is considered abuse.

Of course, leaving them to lie in excrement-covered sheets is also abuse.

In those times, all I could do is report the situation to a supervisor, and let them make the call. This patient responded much better to females than males, and eventually two of the burlier nurses would arrive and force him into the shower, literally kicking and screaming. The expletives echoed down the hallway. While he was off being cleaned, I would change the sheets and take the dirty clothing and linens to housekeeping.

He would return, scowling but clean, and I’d make my self scarce until things calmed down.

1 Comment

  1. markonit

    …talk about being caught in the horns of a dilemma..!

    Like

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