The act of caregiving and attempting to be a caregiving advocate for a loved one can be frustrating when staff at hospitals, care communities, rehab centers, medical offices, home health, and in other health care positions are less than helpful. Caregivers and care receivers have needs that are not the same, need that that require individual attention and problem solving.
Some care professionals go through the motions, are less than attentive, and are unresponsive to care recipients and family caregivers. Professional care staff working in care communities become “facilitized” meaning that staff lump residents into categories much like stereotyping:
- the demented (they’re only going to get worse there is nothing we can do),
- the depressed (this is just how they are and by the way their disease is progressing),
- the problem residents (watch out for him or her)
Staff fails to take the time or to make the effort to look at residents as individuals. Staff takes the easiest route possible. A lack of training is often the reason for poor care and other issues that occur.
Management fails to train staff which is the crux of many of the issues in the care industry. Admittedly staffing is a challenge. Finding employees who care is challenging. Finding employees who will show up for work can be problematic. The care industry is and will continue to be an industry of some caring professionals and an industry of others who view care as a job not a vocation or a profession.
How can family caregivers or care receivers advocate for themselves?
Don’t Accept Less Than Good Care.
- Physicians tell me that my clients are old as if my client doesn’t deserve proactive and good care. A physician yesterday mentioned hospice care as the way out of my client taking care of her mother. Shocking but true.
- Many physicians are insensitive, they fail to see reasons for care declines, they lump clients into the same categories, they have moved beyond the ability to care and have to be pushed to do their jobs.
- Care staff in communities fall into ruts like robots and perform the same routines day in and day out. They take the easiest path to completing their work. Why walk a patient to the dining room when I can put the patient in a wheelchair, faster but not the best for the resident who should walk to remain mobile.
- Care staff are untrained in customer service, untrained in responding appropriately to family concerns, and untrained in the proper care for residents. The younger generation prefers to play with their cellphones rather than to care for residents as if work is interrupting their personal life.
- Because of this lack of training staff, are desensitized to changes in health or condition. Residents decline in heath or die.
My advice, speak up, advocate, be the squeaky wheel. Never give up. Never accept poor care. Find someone who will listen. Find someone who will help. Retain the services of a care advocate if necessary. Do not allow care for yourself or a loved one to be sub-standard. Receiving good or better care takes work and effort.
Read my book, The Caregiving Trap: Solutions for LIfe’s Unxpected Changes for practical tips and suggestions.