There's no excuse for abuse

To the editor:

In response to Father Angelo Quadrini’s Community Comment (April 4):

I am a licensed practical nurse who has worked at the state hospital, at group homes for developmentally disabled adults and in long-term care facilities with dementia patients. I also have a loved one that has Alzheimer’s.

Perhaps it was a calling for me to work with challenging patients, but I have loved every moment of it. There have been verbally aggressive and physically aggressive patients, along with end-stage dementia patients who are unable to follow simple commands. All can try one’s patience. Working in facilities that are understaffed (which is every facility) and that limit hours to avoid overtime can result in frustration when patients delay the routine or take up the majority of your time. I understand this.  

But there are three things I remind myself of when caring for a challenging patient:

1. This is someone’s loved one.

2. These behaviors are manifestations of a disease, of confusion or of the wrong approach on my part.

3. I took an oath as a nurse “to practice my profession faithfully. ... With loyalty will I ... devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.”

Families should have the highest expectations of care for loved ones when they sign them over to a facility. You would not take your child to day care where someone handled him roughly or had little patience, so why is it acceptable with the elderly or disabled? These facilities should employ workers who believe in upholding the highest standards. I challenge everyone to insist on the highest levels of care for loved ones. This will be the only way to make a positive change in the health care system.

I believe Providence Home is a good facility and that the majority of its staff is compassionate and caring. I believe this is true of all nursing facilities and that there will always be a few bad apples.
But at the end of the day, any abuse is unacceptable.

If you are struggling with quality care or concerns for a loved one, you may contact me at I may not have all of the answers, but I do have a sympathetic ear and can be supportive of you. There is strength in numbers.

—Amy Hoffman
Santa Claus

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