I was moved to hear about an old school friend, now in a home, having to wait fifteen minutes before being cleaned up after a bad bout of sickness. Distressing, of course and we all dread not being able to take care of our own needs. But one of my first jobs after graduation was working as an orderly on a hospital ward. I had more vision in those days. Obviously I got all the dirty jobs as the lowly newbie on the team. Sorting bed pans, feeding patients, clearing up their sick was my norm and, in those days, many were sick after a general anaesthetic. So is fifteen minutes wait bad care or good care? I am sure I kept patients waiting while I finished mopping up another. Is fifteen minutes wait good or bad management? Well, this is about timing. There were very busy times and other times when there were enough of us to do it all. So what about resources?
I think most care homes these days are profit-making concerns and this does not make them bad or exploiting as such; but fees and costs determine the possible efficiency from the patient’s point of view and also for the continued worthwhile functioning of each home. And what about the carers in all this?
I only lasted nine months as an orderly but many carers remain lowly in the organisational hierarchy for years and maybe clock up dozens of sick mopping-ups each day, week or month. Thank God they keep going for all our sakes. And, when its my turn to helplessly lie amongst my own sick, I do hope I will remain in the state of mind that reminds me to say thank you for what you do.