BScN, RN, GNC(C) President,
Eldercare Home Health Inc.

On Thursday July 21, The Toronto Star reported a sad case where a nursing home resident suffered a fall, which resulted in a broken leg which was never diagnosed or treated. The resident suffered terribly. She subsequently died.

I wish that I could say that this was an unusual occurence, that everything that went wrong for this resident was an anomoly and that most Nursing Home residents get superb care. Sadly, I cannot. We have assisted and advocated for many Clients over the years so that they might receive the care that they need and deserve.

So many things went wrong for this resident. Opportunities for improving the lives of residents can be highlighted using this scenario as an example. Over the next week, I will tackle some of the important issues that have been revealed through this sad experience.

Pain

The article begins with “For 24 days, Sylvia Bailey screamed in pain from an untreated broken leg..”

Nobody should be in pain – especially when the pain is excruciating and unrelenting. We have the means to keep people comfortable while we sort out why they are uncomfortable. It is every resident’s right to be free of pain to the best extent possible.

In this case, there was a strong possible cause to the resident’s pain. It is absolutely unforgivable that an effort to investigate was not made immediately, and a serious case can be made for senior abuse.

If you find yourself in this position, where your loved one is uncomfortable and is not being attended to in a compassionate manner, you must insist that those charged with the responsibility for their care, act. You must make a fuss.

One of the most important roles we have at Eldercare Home Health is as an advocate for our Clients. We ask questions, suggest direction and insist on feedback and action in a timely manner. You need to do the same.

No one cares more for your loved one than you do. When that loved one is a frail senior, and when that frail senior is in pain or is suffering in any way, don’t be shy, don’t worry about stepping on the staff’s or the doctor’s toes. Be polite. Be firm. Be an advocate.

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