Thursday, 29 August 2013

Thoughts mid week

As I'm sure I've mentioned, I'm currently training to be a nurse. And it is not an easy course, with 2 to 3 week practical placements every semester. I still work part time, and am of course still supposed to be studying. And maybe that sleep deprivation is causing my loss of faith in the system and humanity. But right now, I want to share a story about aged care.

About 4 years ago, my granddad's bowel cancer metastasized (Had secondary cancer sites) In many many places in his body.With chronic pain and severely diminished quality of life, he spent the last week in the hospital. We visited daily, gave him plenty of support, and because we're all from a medical background got things really done. The nurses were fantastic, though chronically understaffed and overworked, and the experience really inspired me to become a nurse.

We were lucky, nobody in my immediate family has had to go into an aged care home. I've worked in some, and I've seen patients who come from aged care into the hospital. And I am horrified by a lot of it. There seems to be a feeling among many that the elderly are already dying. That those with dementia will moan regardless of their pain levels.

Many people come in to hospital with broken hips after having falls, or with cellulitis or severe pressure ulcers. Many never go back to the nursing home. In many cases, elderly women will break a hip and not be taken for a xray for 2-3 days, sometimes up to a week. In one case, a woman came into the hospital after her carers dropped her from a hoist, something physically impossible unless it is used incorrectly. She suffered dementia, and was in pain though unable to express it. It took 5 days for the home to take her into the hospital, and only at the request of her family.

Australia's aged care is in crisis, and a lot needs to be done to make it acceptable, let alone good. But the most important thing I can say to relatives, is be there for your loved one. Visit long and often, and always ask. If you have a question, or there's anything that you don't understand, ask. And keep asking until you understand.

On a happier note, I'd like you to meet Oscar. He's the sweetest thing in the world, and I love him to pieces. He's squishy and smiley and just the best remedy for a bad day. There's photos of him all over the shop, and just looking at them makes my day better :)

On the right is an Amish Puzzle Ball, by Dedri Uys. I'm sure it will cause a lot of fun and adventure, especially as my mother spent 20mins and couldn't quite work out how to put it together...

And here he is again! TWICE! I love the way his mummy sends almost weekly snaps of him wearing more knitted clothes :)

Having a good shake of his miittens gloves, pattern by Michelle Hotchin. I popped some mini rattles in the hands, so he can simply shake away :) Isn't he so happy?

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