Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Friday, March 13, 2009

How Not to Treat Your Mother's Therapist

I'm pretty easy-going as a therapist. My assistants never think so because I have a rather precise view of how I like things done, but I kind of NEED that structure with them so I can function. But with patients, I'm relaxed. I don't like family confrontations a ton, but I do them fine and as is part of my job, sometimes (this week) frequently. I make a huge point of helping the nursing assistants out as often as I can; that's the key to success in nursing home work.

But......this one family member did something I can't stop thinking about. First, it made me realize that I could never be an aide because they get treated like that all the time. By me included.

First, she walked up and demanded I get her mother a pillow and a pain pill. I told her I'd get the pillow and tell the nurse. I came in, fixed her mom up, and in 2 minutes she demanded four times I get a pain pill. Finally I explained in stunning detail what the nurse was doing, when she would be available, and that I'm not licensed to pass pills. She was still irritated.

Then a bit later an aide asked me to help toilet the mother. I was giving the mother directions to keep her safe when the daughter yelled over my precise steps. I wound up totally lifting the woman (who did not require that, so the aide wasn't in position to help), while she scratched me because she was panicked by her daughter's yelling and reached up the back of my shirt. Germy scratches (trust me, they were very germy) don't make me loveable. The entire time I was holding her mother's entire weight she yelled at me for things I couldn't help or asked questions.

I'm not sure anyone has been that rude to me who wasn't the actual patient ever. I've never had a family member be so out of control that I was hurt, no matter how minor. (And scratches from fingernails have been known to turn into fungal infections, bacterial infections, etc. Not everyone practices good personal hygiene.)

Most importantly, she compromised rather severely her mother's safety. Which to me is the whole reason her mom is there: we can keep her safe.

Much deep breathing ensued.


Anonymous said...

Oh ick on the germy scratches! I'd have thrown a fit. I have some grody clients who I always santize afterward! These are normally the same clients who ask me to do things I don't have permission or even ability to do. I say we just kick 'em all! :)

otgirl said...

Oh my goodness! I've only had one patient family be totally rude to me. It was the daughter of a man who had critical illness myopathy, his wife was there too, and the adult daughter was very suspicious and eagle-eyeing everything I did and demanding detailed explanations in an angry tones about EVERYTHING. Then she'd interrupt what I was doing to contradict me. "No, don't use the walker dad, it'll just keep you week". That kind of thing. She totally freaked out when I tried to do a shower and said I was interested in her (86 yr old) father sexually.

(Also, I totally agree with you about the aids: they work really hard and don't get enough credit, and helping them is the key to success).