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05/23/2007 04:41 PM ID: 62626 Permalink   

Nurses 'Check Patient is Safe' for 72 Hours After Her Death


Staff at a nursing home in New Zealand dutifully checked a box every half hour to say they had checked on an elderly woman and found her safe for 72 hours after she died and her body taken away.

The problem was only noticed when a nurse who knew the woman had died on Sunday afternoon returned several days later to find the chart still being filled in. The woman's bed had been empty since she vacated it and her chart was marked 'deceased'.

"It is one of many claims of widespread abuse including patients being smacked and hit, illiterate carers and the rationing of medical accessories," said National Party disability spokesman Paul Hutchison.

    WebReporter: ixuzus Show Calling Card      
ASSESS this news: BLOCK this news. Reason:
  It’s only going to get worse  
With the baby boomers about to retire there is going to be a flood of elderly moving in to nursing homes and there is going to be a serious shortage of caretakers. There won’t be enough people or enough money to take care of everyone. If you are deciding on a career path, nursing is going to be booming for the next 30 years. It is nearly impossible to outsource to another country and the old people will just keep coming.
  by: Valkyrie123     05/23/2007 05:18 PM     
Its more likely old people will just be dumped on wards to die, maybe we'll broadcast the ensuing canabalism.
I certainly dont expect the state to be caring for me when I'm old.
  by: Gogevandire   05/23/2007 05:43 PM     
Actually high nurse to patient ratios is part of the reason there is a current nursing shortage. Hospitals and long term care try to get by with hiring as few people as possible. In a Long term care facility a nurse can have upwards of 30 patients to care for. I have even heard numbers as high as 50 per nurse. That's just plain unsafe. In a hospital setting a nurse should probably have 5-7 patients to care for (TaraB care to input on this one?) and usually get about 10-12, maybe 15. It's a huge concern, and considered unsafe staffing ratios and can easily burn out a nurse making her leave the facility or the profession.

But not only that, is the troubles with administration. They believe in customer service over patient care. They will yell at you or write you up if you don't fluff patient A's pillow because you were working on a code blue on patient B down the hall. They believe that if the nurses give good "customer service" than the patient will be a repeat "customer". Hence the surveys you get in the mail after you've left. I have even heard stories of nursing being given scripted lines to say to their patients like "Hello Mr. Doe, I am NoTalentAssclown, I will be your nurse today to make sure you have a wonderful experience here at Hospital X." Now I don't know anyone who has had a wonderful experience at the hosptial, besides the maternity ward - and even that can be not so wonderful. They set unreasonable expectations on the nurses and lead the patients to have unreasonable expectations of their stay.

Also nurses from other countries are "insourcing" and getting something (speical visas? Tara?) to work here.

Ironically enough, even though I know all this I am taking pre-reqs for nursing school. I plan to work bedside, but also plan to get my bachelors so I have other avenues open to me if need be (i.e. a desk job - snore).
  by: notalentassclown     05/23/2007 08:16 PM     
  My wife  
Was a STNA (State Tested Nursing Assistance). In a facility of about 100 patients there was one Charge Nurse, one nurse per floor with one STNA per 10-15 patients. That was the norm. The STNA's did EVERYTHING. From waking to washing, dressing, feeding, cleaning again, and putting back to sleep (depending on shift). If you were the STNA you HAD to have your people ready for whatever. No matter if the patient was a 75lbs. old woman who called you 'bitch' or 'whore' or other names if you were of a certain ethnic race all the while smacking you, or if it was a 200lbs. old man trying to 'grab him some young thang'.
The Nurses took care of medications.
The Charge Nurses made sure the paperwork was done right and on time.
Every weekend towels and blankets and other bedding or cleaning supplies would run out.
Every month there was at least one new STNA. Every six months a new Nurse.
It's not just the facility's fault or the people in charge, it's more of the fact that while there are rules and laws, no one is actively monitoring the situation. Thats why conditions are so appalling and are not improving.
And it all really boils down to cost. The more expensive the facility, typically, the better the care. BUT, if you have a loved one in one of these places, you HAVE to visit them EVERY DAY for at least a few hours or else their level of care will deteriorate.
  by: Allanthar     05/23/2007 08:47 PM     
  there was a baby boom in new zealand too?  
  by: reverend j roach     05/23/2007 10:40 PM     
I haven't worked in the industry yet, and I know that your wife worked her butt off doing all that. It's all about short staffing and the bottom line. But I'm sure that the nurses and charge nurses also did much more than that.
  by: notalentassclown     05/23/2007 11:54 PM     
It could be very possible the nurses didn't do a whole lot. Here where I live, in a long term care facility, there is usually one nurse and 4-5 personal care aides to about 30 patients (although we have staffing shortages, its obviously not as extensive as some places). The nurses are responsible for meds (which can be quite extensive and time consuming) and any other duty a PCA is not qualified to do such as vitals, catheters etc. (which depending on the day can also involve alot of work). The thing is that like many other professions there are lazy people...I myself have witnessed nurses who always manage to be too busy to help the PCAs, while there are others who can manage to get all their duties done and still have time to help with daily care. It all depends on the person.
Kudos to you for taking nursing, its a very trying but rewarding profession ;)
  by: Billy Rubin   05/24/2007 02:54 AM     
LOL I love your name. Very clever.

I know what you mean. I wasn't sure though if the PCAs/CNAs could do vitals and that sort of thing. That is what I meant by more than med passes, vitals, catheters and that sort of thing. There are lazy slackers in every profession that only make more work for everyone else. It's too bad those sorts of "workers" are allowed to stay on. But given the shortage I suppose it's better than having no one. I am taking my CNA in a year, so I can't wait! Although I do hope that if I do get my RN or BSN that I keep my head about me and try to help the CNAs, rather than think that work is below me.
  by: notalentassclown     05/24/2007 04:26 AM     
  lol thanks...glad someone gets it :)  
I know that our PCAs aren't allowed to do vitals (even though nothing is manual these days...its all electronic) but I'm not sure about CNAs.
I think as long as you are aware of the type of nurse you don't want to be, you'll do great. In my experience, people who start out as PCAs/CNAs make excellent nurses in a long term care facility because they know what its like for the people working under them, so they end up being more helpful and understanding ;)
I stay away from working in geriatrics because I don't enjoy it, and although I know I would never go to the extent this woman did, my dislike for that particular work would make me a terrible 'team mate'.
  by: Billy Rubin   05/24/2007 10:42 PM     
  Hope I'm not too late  
Someone just let me know I was being mentioned on here.

The nurse to patient ratio is the worse in "care facilities" where I live. In fact they recently closed one down because the place was literally falling apart and they couldnt keep staff due to the conditions.

Depending on where you live you could easily have 30 patients to take care of a night and if you are lucky have a CENA show up to assist.

And NTAC is right on with the Hospital valuing customer service reviews over most things. Our new thing is we get to write on a board what would be the best ending to a visit and how we can help achieve that. Anyone want to guess what the #1 reply is after WHAT? Pain management/relief. Gimme a break let me take vitals, get iv's in and get the patient as comfortable and stable as I can. I don't want to be wasting my time or a patients on asking and writing this down in front of them like I am a teacher.

We are attempting to hire 20+ nurses in our Trauma unit alone, I think it is about 120 hospital wide. And the bad thing is nurses eat our young, we don't mean to but it happens. NTAC hang in there if you get a mama bear just remember she is miserable, overworked and just ready to leave the profession if she could.

Another thing NTAC touched on is how we are recruiting nurses from other countries. My hospital hasn't came to that point yet but there are many sites online that do so and many major hospitals are doing so because of the shortages.

Two things that will garuntee you big money in nursing is; 1 being a male- we are desperate for more male nurses and you can basically write your own ticket over here. 2 is Travel nursing. If you are able to be a travel nurse your pay will jump through the roof and you can go anywhere in the US.

Whew I think that is it for now.
  by: TaraB     05/25/2007 04:10 AM     
  Worker Shortages  
I remember when there was a shortage of computer techs. I became one. I had to start my own company to get anywhere now because of the massive amounts of computer techs. Maybe I'll become a nurse, but I just don't want to wipe any dirty butts. I do that enough as a parent.
  by: BikerDude   05/26/2007 08:44 PM     
If you don't want to wipe backsides nursing may not be the career for you. It gets so much worse than that.
  by: ixuzus     05/27/2007 06:17 AM     
I agree with ixuzus. If you are looking to change careers to an "in demand" field, look at dental hygiene. Butt wiping free and they can't graduate people fast enough. You also make about $30/hr (give or take depending on where you live). Scheduling is very flexible and no nights or holidays to work either. It's also an associate degree program so you might be able to at least transfer your gen eds out of the way. Look at your local community college to see what they offer. No butts to wipe, probably very little vomit. Some blood but nothing out of control and maybe some nasty teeth.
  by: notalentassclown     05/27/2007 06:42 AM     
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