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Activities of daily living

Mrs Stubbs could not sleep at night. She was so excited. A new bath had arrived and the nurse had asked her to be the first to try it out the next day. Mrs Stubbs loved the bath so much that she did not want to come out of it and enjoyed a long soak. The nurse knew what she was doing. Mrs Stubbs was the resident gossip and could be heard spreading the word amongst the other residents. There would be no trouble encouraging other residents to try the bath. Indeed there was  a long queue of them. What a little psychology can do - or is it knowing the resident?

It was Christmas, Matron walked in the hall in the nursing home smelling a  rather strong smell. On closer investigation, she discovered a pair of rather soiled pants hanging in the Christmas tree! Glad tidings to you I bring!

Anybody who did not know Mr Fin would have had  a shock when they looked in his bed at night. He always slept with his woolly hat and gloves on, whatever the weather. Then there was Annie who slept in her armchair as she had done for years.

Mr Hind was shaving the sides of his head with a razor blade and nurse Tims was rather concerned. Following a chat with his relatives, she discovered that Mr Hind had always shaved his head in the past. One of the care assistants shaved the remainder and he was a very happy man. However, staff who were not there at the time, had to be forewarned.

It was Mrs Grays 90th birthday. The staff did not think that she would know her age. Not only that but she knew her date of birth as well.

Mr Singh was an 84 year old resident and had been a non-practising muslim for years. On discussing his religious needs with him, it became apparent that he desired to recommence practising as a muslim. Nurse Biggs knocked upon the door of the town’s mosque on her way home. The very next day the nurse in charge was surprised to open the door at 10pm in pitch darkness. About six members of the mosque had come to visit Mr Singh. Sometimes needs and wishes can be fulfilled with ease when we know what they are.

Nellie walked down the corridor. She was the lady in the blue dress, no the red dress, no the trousers---. For some reason Nellie kept changing her clothes.

Maud informed a care assistant that she had lost her dentures. The staff spent all the next day searching everywhere; a few have been found in the laundry. On returning to Maud, the care assistant discovered that they were still in her mouth. Sometimes we all miss the obvious. Ethel lost her dentures but they were found in her empty teacup.

The radiators within some residents’ rooms, especially ladies, are often adorned with drying underwear. Residents are often embarrassed by their dirty laundry and wash it themselves. Sometimes bundles of underwear are handed to a care assistant hidden within a nightdress. Just imagine yourself, hanging your small son a public washing line or sitting in a laundrette with a  crowd of spectators. Don’t wash your dirty linen in public they say!

Mrs Owen was having difficulty buttoning her cardigan so Mr Downs did it for her. An onlooking nurse thought Mrs Owen should do it herself and maintain her independence. Helping others and being helped is a human need for some people.

Mrs Hutton, a blind lady, often called for Uncle George. This was what she called one of the residents; a more physically able gentleman who assisted her with various things such as giving her a cup of tea.,

Mrs Dalley blocked her bedroom door with a  chair at night. The nurses cunningly rearranged the furniture to prevent her from doing so. In another home, Mrs Adams was permitted to continue to block her door, following consultations with all staff, relatives and the doctor. Apparently she had always done so at home. Is it one rule for one - or perhaps all nurses have different approaches?

The bathroom floor was nicely concreted. Unfortunately the bathroom door was not closed to prevent it’s use. Mrs Sprakes, a rather confused lady, entered. The floor which was by now juts about dry, was wet once more.

Agnes was a lady who did not like troubling the nurses but walked rather unsteadily. The nurses were puzzled as to why she asked for  a commode to be put in her room every night but never used it. This was to avoid asking them in the night to assist her to the bedroom toilet; she liked them to think that she was using the commode.

Nurse Strong was assisting Mr Bailey to get out of bed one morning, never having attended to him before. “How do you normally wash yourself?” she kindly asked. “Oh I don’t know. You should know, you’re the nurse” shot the reply. Not all residents desire to have  a choice. Choice not to have a choice I suppose.

Then there is Mr Dig. When asked what he would like, he replied whatever is easiest for the nurse.


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