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Trips out

Permitting residents to have their freedom is not without dilemmas and risks. There are difficult decisions to be made based upon the individual and the situation concerned.

9 pm the shift was over within a large nursing home. Where was Annie, a rather lively younger resident who was mobile only within her wheelchair? A mass search ensued of the home and the grounds in the darkness. There she was; a very angry Annie in her wheelchair marooned in the mud after venturing out for a cigarette. All was well.

Mrs Green, a rather confused lady took herself for  a walk outside the home. After being given tea and cakes by an unknown neighbour, she was returned to the home by police. At least she thoroughly enjoyed it.

The police rang. A lady had been cited heading down the road in a nightdress and slippers. Did the lady belong to the nursing home? It sounded like Gladys and she was not in her room. The police began searching. A frantic nurse hurried outside to search the district. Meanwhile Gladys was found in the sitting room! A rather sheepish nurse rang the police to explain. The lady may have lived elsewhere.

Mr Smart was instructed twice  a week to go on the bus and attend day centre. He was provided with the exact amount of bus fare but very rarely arrived, going round town and having a cup of tea in  a cafe instead. Good for him! Meanwhile the place in the day centre remained unoccupied so perhaps we should listen to the resident instead of assuming we know best.

The local pub was a good outing for some. A gang of residents visited it one evening; often one pushing another in a  wheelchair. Unfortunately it was rather foggy one night, so a rather anxious nurse, who had not realised, hurried after them. No need to worry, they were all seated in the pub as usual, enjoying their pints and wondering what all the fuss was about. Cheers!

Mrs Green was  a rather confused  lady who was frequently discovered wandering outside. She was also an extremely fast runner and ran away from the staff. However, she was soon diverted by activities such as dusting. When she did disappear, her bed had to be closely inspected because she positioned the pillows underneath the blankets to appear as though she was asleep.

A dual handled door with one positioned at the top of the door, did not deter a confused Mrs Helm. By hooking a pair of tights over the top handle she was able to open the door. Not that confused then!

Mrs Brown expressed a desire to go to church. “I am not taking you” announced the key worker “ I am an atheist”. I know that care staff have needs as well but really---.

The homes grand day out at the seaside had arrived. All residents had enjoyed it, particularly the pub which they refused to come out of. Perhaps they should have gone to the local pub instead.

A well meaning staff member arranged trips out. However he had difficulty in selecting venues. His task was much simpler when it dawned on him to ask residents where they wanted to go. Fortunately some residents selected the same place. Indeed they did not all want a full day out. A drink in a café was enough for some. Mrs Earl mentioned that she really wanted to go to the market. No sooner said than done. A care assistant came on his day off and took her. Yes that company would have paid him but that was not the point. There are many similar care assistants and nurses within care homes. Whilst an instant reward is not the aim, it is nice to be acknowledged occasionally.

Mrs Draper was confused and had an imaginary cat in the lounge. One morning to the nurse’s horror, she was nowhere to be found. Some time later she returned. She had taken herself to the shop to buy some milk for the cat.

Mr Gray was confused but insisted upon going out. He would not permit anybody to escort him, wishing to maintain his independence. “You take me” suggested the nurse “because I do not know this district”. Mr Gray thoroughly enjoyed giving the guided tour.

Mrs Blem loved to go to the local shops but rarely had any money to spend. “Fetch this for me” asked the nurse “and me”, “and me”; she was soon provided with a list.

“I will be alright going on my own “ said Mr Evans who was 80 and rather confused. “I am meeting my mother, my auntie, my brother, my sister---“ and Uncle Tom Cobbly and all!

The grand trip out had arrived. Some residents did not want to go. However they were not directly given a choice. “Just put your coat on Annie, I will take you out for  a while”. She did enjoy it when she got there.

Millie was on a day trip out to York where the streets are rather cobbled. It was hang on to your hat for Millie who was in a wheelchair. Her hat was flying up and down with every bump.

Gladys and Hilda sat one evening merrily chatting in the front garden of the home. Darkness loomed, it was 10 past 10 at night and the nurse had forgotten them. “Do you think you ought to come in now?” she asked, interrupting the conversation. That bus was a long time coming!

Mrs Harvey was taken to a shop in a wheelchair by a member of staff. Unbeknown to them, they were leaving the shop with a rail of clothing! It had become hooked onto her walking stick which was laid across her lap. Stop thief!

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