Joyce felt that her achievement in Journalism school was well worth the effort. After all, it took a good four years for her to complete the course and another two years before she found a job at Williams & Williams—a local magazine that was quickly becoming popular within a 50 mile radius. She was one of the writers and she spent most of her day writing articles of local and state interest.
Her current project was an article on nursing home abuse. It was a subject close to her heart and she was putting in her heart and soul. She knew how some nursing homes were abusing their patients and she was going to use this article as a stepping stone on opening up some local issues that needed to be addressed.
Her first article on nursing home abuse focused on “The Demeaning Actions of Nursing Home Caregivers.” Having seen her mom mistreated in a nursing home years ago when her mom was being treated for Alzheimer’s, she knew exactly how to write the article to get the attention of the reader.
She began a draft of the article and as she began to write, she made a list of actions that she remembered occurring with her mom. She began:
Demeaning Actions that are used in Nursing Homes:
1. Not using the patient’s name when addressing him or her.
2. Not looking the patient in the eye when talking with him or her.
3. Making fun of the patient; especially if they fell down or said something stupid.
4. Not helping the patient with certain needs.
As she continued with her list, she not only become angrier with each entry, she was coming to a conclusion in her mind on somthing else she would do.
The next day Joyce called the nursing home her mother was in years ago and asked to talk with the administrator. She talked with him for a few minutes and then made an appointment to see him later in the week.
The following Thursday at 10 a.m. came soon and she found herself talking with Mr. Shoemaker about her concerns. She began..
“Mr. Shoemaker, you may not remember me but my mother lived here for several years with dementia and during that time she was mistreated and in some cases, neglected and I think most of the things she underwent was because she had dementia. The head nurse helped me several time and for awhile the neglect lessened but then, came back. She died before I could substantiate anything but I am here now to speak for others with this illness. She read the words that she wrote for her article.
Please keep the following in mind when treating those who have dementia:
“Treat them with respect and when you speak to them, use their names.
If someone is found mistreating your patients, give them remedial help or fire them.
Make sure they have help when dressing and when going to bed.
Do not allow anyone to make fun of them or call them names.”
Joyce felt better after explaining her feelings and Mr. Shoemaker smiled and said, “Thank you, Joyce, for your information and I will ensure that all of my employees read and digest your words. Again, I am sorry for your loss and rest assured, I will do whatever I can to promote and encourage my staff to treat “all” of our patients in a decent and human way.”
She whispered to herself: "One small step for treating Alzheimer patients fairly and one giant leap for all patients!"
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