Perhaps one of the most de-humanizing aspects of nursing home life is the reliance on others for toileting needs. Especially in the case of bed-bound residents, notifying a staff member every-time one needs to use the toilet, means being reliant on others for basic bodily functions.
When the staff fails to timely assist with toileting needs, the results can be not only embarrassing but downright dangerous. If left in their own waste, residents are at an increased risk of pressure ulcers (also referred to as bed sores, decubitus ulcers or pressure sores) and infection.
This failure to timely tend to the toileting needs of residents resulted in Glendale Home’s $20,800 federal fine and their staff’s mandatory enrollment in ‘dignity training’. The sanctions come after six residents complained to New York Department of Health officials that the staff at the facility humiliated them when they failed to answer their calls for assistance in using the toilet.
In the case of an obese nursing home resident, who required two-person assistance and a mechanical lift for transfers with transfers out of bed, a nursing home inspector noted:
“She state that sometimes staff would become angry with her for calling out when they were so bust and tell her she would have to wait. She also stated that when she was waiting for help she would be in pain from the urgency of needing to void. The resident said that on several occasions she had wet herself while waiting for the staff and that she was mortified and embarrassed when she wet her bed.”
In another case, nursing home inspectors observed a man sitting naked on a bed pan who was yelling for staff to close the door as attempted to gain some privacy.
When officials questioned the nursing home staff about the delay in bringing residents to the toilet and obvious disrespect of privacy, many said the some days the facility seemed short staffed in order to cope with the needs of the residents. In addition to delays in toileting, the under-staffing was also manifested by the fact that some residents were not turned in their beds or bathed regularly.
Despite the staff’s own contention that the facility was under-staffed, the facility administrator chose to ‘redeploy’ the current staff to cope with spikes in call-bell use as opposed to hiring more staff.
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