This column is a series developed to allow readers, chosen at random, to express their opinions and give answers to specific questions. If your name is chosen, you will receive a form in the mail.
Be sure fo reply promptly, then watch for your name in print!
What would you say is the problem that plagues you most in your nursing care of the elderly?
Effective, comprehensive care planning - bringing it all together in a functional manner - is a problem. We seem to spend many hours developing good care plans but getting the staff to use them is another thing. We need more practical plans.
Charleyne S. Tull
Si. Joseph Center for Mental Health
The problem is the stereotyped image our society, including our professionals in the medical field, have of today's nursing home. Most in our society refuse or possibly don't care to seek out information and to learn about us and the way we care for our residents. Many still continue to think and believe that our residents come to us to die.
Clarice Ann Lutz
In my experience, the use of LVNs is a problem. Generally, I have seen a low level of preparation in overall patient assessment. Their almost one-dimensional view (in spite of written job descriptions) is that of only giving medications and charting. This ignores the need for nursing assessment and nursing assistant supervision.
Carleen Minckler, RNC
Bay Harbor Rehabilitation Center
Los Angeles, CA
I feel that the lack of understanding by outsiders is the biggest problem. Too often, they see the health care personnel attempting to rehabilitate the elderly and, instead of understanding and cooperating with us, they report us for cruelty; for example, making the resident feed himself instead of us feeding him.
Beatrice L. Nyback
Lakeshore Lutheran Home
Motivating the patients is a problem. Generally, their need for institutionalization seems to enforce feelings of inadequacy, rejection, and defeat. This coupled with physical disabilities, which often is the need for the same institutionalizatìon, presents a great stumbling block (for the staff) in rehabilitation. Often, patients do not respond or participate, feeling our home is the "Dead" End. I would like very much to reverse this thinking!
Willoughby Nursing Home
My big problem is not enough time - too much spent on necessary documentation (even with skipping breaks and/ or lunchtime.) It increasingly is becoming the rule rather than the exception.
Nancy Nielsen, RN
Edgewood Manor Nursing Center
Port Clinton, OH
Difficulty in communicating with professional staff, thus making care of elderly very difficult, is a problem we experience often.
Ann O'Conor, RN, DNS
Linda Withamt RN, Supervisor
Mt. St. Vincent Nursing Home,
My biggest problem is the patient that wanders constantly, picking up or touching everything within reach. The other patients become upset and want the wandering patient put in a geri-chair. This patient is more upsetting to other patients than to the staff. A geri-chair is not the answer, but what is?
Crafts- Farrow State Hospital
My biggest problem is finding time to give my patients needed care, amidst reams of required paperwork and documentation on that same care - receiving and transcribing orders in all books and forms, updating care plans, team evaluation, Kardex - and still teaching, encouraging, answering, explaining, caring, and sharing for patient/staff/family/me.
Bernice M. Edmunds, RN
Hallmark Nursing Centre
Glen Falls, NY