BOOMER TALK: Bureaucracy and health care

More care needed for seniors and more support for care aids

Carole Fawcett

Boomer Talk

I never do well when confronted with bureaucracy. I do recognize that some guidelines are necessary for any business, but it seems we have become obsessed and ruled by them.

With ‘policies and procedures’ people seem to lose their common sense along the way, creating a situation where a business or agency is forced to operate on what it says in the policies and procedures binder, as opposed to what is best for the client, patient or consumer.

It seems that flexibility in dealing with a situation is completely lost when these rules become rigid. They are so rigid they become brittle and as we know things that are brittle tend to break easily and no longer function efficiently, perhaps discounting the needs of a human being.

I bumped into that just recently when attempting to accommodate the needs of my 96-year-old mother who had fallen and broken her clavicle. I was told that she would qualify to have Interior Health Authority care aides come in and assist her.

So, a very nice someone came out from the Community Care group, assessed mom’s living situation (she lives in supportive housing) and said she would qualify for care aides.

Mom and I had a chat about what would be most helpful. Apparently care aides only help with bathing once per week (unless the client is incontinent).

A once a week shower or bath is not enough to feel fresh and clean, even if you are not incontinent. This impacts an individuals’ mental wellbeing too. If you feel unclean, it may impact your desire to socialize – something that is very important as we age.

With mom, they did agree to help with the shower twice a week, but the shower was offered at 1:30 p.m. So that would mean she would dress in the a.m., (‘cause its frowned upon to go to lunch in your jammies) then undress at 1:30 for the shower and then dress again, then undress again at night when she went to bed.

That would be four times she would have to dress and undress in one day. Broken clavicles are painful and can impede the ability to dress and undress.

They are not allowed to bring food up from the kitchen area, because somewhere in their infamous binders of policies and procedures it states they cannot ‘transport food.’

They are not allowed to walk patients down hallways for exercise, but will walk with them to the dining room for lunch. It was suggested by a young nurse that perhaps the care aide could ‘remind’ mom to walk down the hall, by herself. It’s not a matter of remembering, it’s a matter of being safe.

Boggles the mind doesn’t it?

I find the resistance to walking down the hall with a senior puzzling, as in the IHA’s own information about seniors, it states: “The prevention and reduction of falls among seniors is of particular importance, and B.C. is considered a world leader in this field.”

Walking alongside a fragile senior who uses a walker would reassure the senior and a way for the care aide to assess how well they are doing. They could also help the client take a moment to sit on their walker if necessary.

This is important to know Boomers, because bureaucracy tends to grow exponentially. You’ll need an advocate to make sure you are being looked after properly if this happens to you.

I believe we must acknowledge the important work that care aides do, pay them accordingly and perhaps increase their training. They are vital to the quality of the lives of those they help. We need to allow care aides to be flexible enough to help others in a respectful and empowering manner.

Just so you know, everyone I spoke with was polite, but they are, unfortunately, puppets of the system.

We need to change the bureaucratic policies and procedures and make them more humane. Health care bureaucracy has lost sight that it is dealing with human beings.

Carole Fawcett is a freelance writer, retired counsellor and humourist www.wordaffair.com

READ MORE: Boomers and COVID-19

READ MORE: Vernon seniors fed free meals during pandemic


@VernonNews
newsroom@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

OpinionSeniors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Syrian from Shuswap witnesses devastation in Lebanon

Former refugee hopes to bring his family home

Perseid meteor shower at peak on Aug. 11 and 12

Find place away from city lights for optimal viewing

Billet homes needed for Shuswap hockey teams

Silverbacks, Eagles, Heat put out call for host homes for players

Hostility at Shuswap restaurant ignites campaign calling for respect

“If you can’t follow the rules, then stay home,” says BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Morning Start: The Exorcist film set was haunted

Your morning start for Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020

COVID-19 outbreak at South Okanagan farm declared over

There continues to be other community exposure events in the Interior Health region

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

VIDEO: Revelstoke rallies to save snared eagle

Local climber scales tree to save the raptor

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

COVID-19 exposure alert at Cactus Club in downtown Kelowna

Interior Health also announced another three cases of COVID-19 tied to Kelowna, bringing the total to 161

Most Read