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The majority of tales involve residents, not staff. This may be because staff are reluctant to discuss what may appear to be their shortfalls or it could simply be because it is, after all, the residents who live their.

Residents take themselves, their past lives and present routines into a new environment amongst other people. Past lives are important and often influence present behaviour for which there is always a reason. This may be opposed by regulations or the perception of other people. The carer does not always know best. Much may be learned from asking or observing the resident, for example before introducing new furniture or changing the television channel.

The absence of tales would imply that care in the home, is restrictive and provides an artificial, over -protective, predictable life that would not be worth living. By recalling such events, we begin to realise what the process of caring is all about. That is; permitting individuals to be themselves and sharing those moments with them. Such recollections promote the carer’s sense of knowing the resident hence promoting greater understanding, acceptance and empathy. Lessons may be learned from reflecting upon these tales. There may also be implications for training for example, the tale concerning a care assistant blowing down a catheter bag. There may be indications to communicate more with residents in order to encourage knowing about them. There may also be implications for policies within the care home. There is more involved in working in a care home than merely providing care. You never know what is going to happen. Working in care homes is an immense challenge that demands great skill.

Care assistants are particularly in a position to observe these incidents, for example, Mrs Elliot tape measuring. Much may be learned if the care staff discussed such incidents, for example, why residents wash their own underwear. Such levels of understanding may avoid inappropriate responses by care staff and nurses. Presently, such tales may simply be the source of staff room gossip. Nurses and care staff do not know anything until they know the resident- that is caring.

Such incidents also emphasis a lighter side of caring- and of life- thus easing stress and promoting staff satisfaction. Whilst some incidents may be questionable regarding quality of care, they really are everyday, ordinary, human occurrences. What would life be without them?


These tales have been gathered over 20 years. Regulations and approaches to care will have altered since then.

Names of residents, staff and care homes have not been identified.

copywrite Carol Dimon 2009

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