See Me

I am a person. I am not dementia. I am not diabetes. I am not simply a resident or client. I am not a care plan or a two person assist. I am not room 242 needs something for agitation.
I was a dancer. An ambassador. I fought for this country. I was a nurse. An engineer. I am a mother, son, daughter, sister. I am dying but I’m not dead yet. You make rules and say they are to protect me, and yet you don’t see me. You don’t ask me what I think. I am one more blurred face. I am one more bed filled. I am a number on a census.
Your voice and demeanor change when my family visits. Suddenly, we’re pals. Suddenly you are filled with concern but if I were to ask you how I slept last night or what my biggest fears were, or my favorite color or pet peeves, you wouldn’t know. That’s beneath your pay grade. That’s for the caregivers, if I’m lucky enough to have a good one that you doesn’t run off in search of greener pastures. And I don’t think you realize how truly demeaning it is to not be seen as an individual; how, more than anything else, the minimizing of who I am as a person to a checklist robs me of my dignity. There shouldn’t have to be a list of patient rights in order to be seen as a human being. Is there a more important rule than that? It shouldn’t be so complicated.
The higher up the food chain you are in this field the further you are removed from the people for whom it exists and the legislators making the calls are about as high up as one can get. The best way to find out how to improve the quality of life is to ask those who receive and provide the hands on care. It’s a no brainer.

7 thoughts on “See Me

  1. Minstrel

    Exactly, Alice! This is why the training they ‘give’ us doesn’t work. The higher-ups don’t believe in it, they don’t really want to change the culture of care because that might loosen their control of things. They want beds in their bodies to bump up their bottom-line. It stinks.

  2. Joan Devine

    Alice, you are so right about this. As the Pioneer Network values say, Know Each Person. Relationships are at the heart of everything, the foundation of quality of life for our residents, and our staff, as well.

  3. Anonymous

    Joan, Pioneer Network has the values right. But at the annual conferences they nevertheless accept sponsorships from some long-term care-home operators whose commitment to achieving culture change and person-centered care is questionable: lip-service deep. To me this is like hearing all these beneficiaries of Harvey Weinstin’s financial and producing largess only now speaking out again his sexual abuse of actresses, when, if they’d opened their eyes they’d have seen the truth. Maybe Pioneer Network also has to soul-search on whose support it will accept? How would you know whether the organization adheres to Pioneer Network Values? ASK THEIR CNAs! Ask them what life is really like on the floor.

    1. coreyannerotella2015

      Many organizations do pay lip service and I understand your frustration. However, the Pioneer Network gave us a platform. They sought us out and let us be heard. At CNA edge, we pull no punches and yet the did not censor us. They LISTENED. And they because is that the administrators in the audidience heard what we had to say. And that in and of itself has given this writer courage to continue to write and speak out

      1. Donna Woodward

        Pioneer Network did give CNAs a unique and uncensored platform at their 2016 conference; I don’t mean to minimize that. Still, Corey, I can’t help but feel it’s time for Pioneer Network and other organizations who are considered champions of better quality long-term care to do more, to expect more from those LTC communities who ally themselves with PN as conference sponsors but don’t adhere to PN’s values in the quality of care they provide.


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