Thursday, December 31, 2015

Specialized Training In Dementia Should Be Mandatory To Work For A Facility

You'd be surprised what you learn when you just listen. I had to opportunity to speak to a young lady yesterday who is a STNA in another county close to ours.

She was telling me about the dementia unit she works in. Said she has never had any training what so every as how to really interact with the patients. She said she does her best, but always feels she could do more if she and others had some training when it comes to dementia patients.

She, like others who work there are used as a need be basis. In other words, if she is needed in one part of the facility she works there, if she is needed on another section of the facility, she works there.

Basically depends on if someone calls off, or they are short staffed for whatever reason.

She then told me of a patient they have who is forgetting how to walk. She said she asked the facility if they could get her a wheel chair to use, or a walker.

The powers to be told her that they can't do that. I suppose it has to with doctors orders or some other lame excuse.

What is happening here is an accident waiting to happen. It is just a matter of time before this patient gets up out of bed, takes two steps and hits the floor.

It's not a question of if this will happen, but when. All because of some rule they have at this facility. This to me is beyond absurd.

I told her if I were her I would speak to the family and tell them they need to insist that their Mother use a walker, wheel chair, or have assistance any time she is out of bed.

This is a perfect example of not having the proper training. They are basically saying that they can't do anything until she falls. She of course is elderly and a fall could mean a broken hip, which in many elderly patients is a death sentence.

Nursing facilities have to do what is proper for the patient. Knowing that this woman has begun to forget how to walk, and not doing anything to prevent her from falling is negligence on their part.

I have said many times that if you do place your loved one, your caregiving role does not stop. You are still the number one person who has to look out for your loved one.

This story tells it all. There should never be anyone working on an dementia ward unit without some training as to how to deal with these people. Never.

Back in the day I was a investigator for the State of Ohio for facilities. It was my job to go into these facilities and see that things were being done properly. That all ongoing education was being done, training was being done and all their records corresponded with the training.

I had four counties here in Ohio I was responsible for. Countless times I would show up unannounced and find violations. One time, the training was so lax, and there was no paper trail of any training, I had no option but to suggest the license of this facility be suspended.

No one wins in this situation, but you have to have a system to where these facilities are being held accountable.

The one time, which action was taken, they had no continuing education in the basic things, like CPR, how to transfer a patient from a bed to a chair, how to operate a hoyer lift, etc.

I have long been a proponent of having the right people in the right places when it comes to facility care. I think every employee has to have training on dementia patients, how to deal with them, and at least know who the patient was before this disease came into their life.

You take an STNA who is tasked with feeding a dementia patient and has no clue about choking hazard or peripheral vision issues, could scare a patient just by feeding them and the patient not seeing the fork coming at them.

Like I said, you learn a lot by just listening. She asked for my input, and you know me, I gave it.

I told her I would like to come to this facility and talk to the staff. Have a question and answer session. This would not to be to put down what they are or are not doing, but would be a great place to start for some constructive criticism.

Remember, once you do place a loved one that your responsibilities do not stop there as being a caregiver for them, speaking out for them when things  are not right, and to make sure they are getting the care they nee and deserve.

©  Rick Phelps  2015