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No Nursing Home Cameras: An Open Letter to my Family

Posted Feb 26th, 2016 in Long-Term Care, Safety, Tips, Dementia, ElderPilot in Action

No Nursing Home Cameras: An Open Letter to my Family

Dear Family,

If I am admitted to a Long-Term care home in the very distant future because I require more care and assistance than is manageable, I am entirely alright with that.  Life is short, and it is your turn to embrace as much of your youth, and good health that is left. 

I have seen many articles about cameras in Nursing homes as of late, and it scares the living pants off of me (literally).  Aside from whatever legal entanglements may evolve from this action, you will be privy to observing me in various states of nudity.

I was not a flower child of the sixties and have never embraced flouncing (or bouncing) about braless, nor do I recall leaving doors wide open when bathing or dressing when you were growing up.  It just wasn’t, or isn’t me. And now as I age, I retain that lack of fondness for peep shows regardless of the audience’s level of maturity.  However, if I do sustain memory changes, (which has been the pathway of many of my elders) and suddenly embrace nudity as common place, that will most definitely lead to a new set of interesting circumstances.

I am not a prude, but rather have a sense of modesty and am uncomfortable with hidden cameras lurking about the corners of my Long-Term care room for you to peruse, while looking for evidence of abuse.

I cannot imagine how undignified this would feel, should I be aware of it, and wonder what unfortunate circumstances led you to this decision.  I hope that there will be fundamental changes to the system sooner than later, because you see a few desperate families are relying on this form of observation, because they fear for their elder’s safety.  What a sad state the world has become, and I hope you will follow my pathway of advocacy, versus invasion of privacy.

I can only hope that before you receive this letter the following has happened:

  • There is a valid, mandatory PSW registry where employers must submit cause of termination when abuse or any form of mistreatment is involved.  Hello Ontario, your Registry closes Feb. 29 2016, and there is no contingency plan, nor was there mandatory reporting criteria in the old format.  Let's stop staff who have "no business in the care business," from getting another job working with a vulnerable population.  P.S. : (A big shout out to those awesome PSW workers, who embrace their roles in care provision to the elderly.)
  • That unions relinquish the power to renegotiate terms of dismissal that supposedly make the employee “whole” by recording a lesser cause of termination.  If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…. You’ve got the point. 
  • My Charter of Rights and Resident’s Bill of Rights is adhered to, I am still a Canadian citizen.  (I hope we are still the most awesome country to live in!)
  • When funding is provided for new staffing to Long-Term care homes, the facility is required to provide a list of new staff added, that is cosigned by the union. Checks and balances, that’s all it is…no offense intended to either party, right?
  • I hope staffing complements to homes are reviewed and numbers increased.  The funding mechanism in Ontario provides funding for the next year based on the care needs of the year before.  What if acuity levels become higher?
  • Registered Nurses retain a vital role in the health care system.  I have lived through too many RN shortages because the value of these integral care workers was undervalued.  Please care for, and nurture our RPNs as well, they contribute immensely to care.
  • Nurse Practitioners have a vital place in LTC.  I hope at some point hospital transfers are minimized because these essential team members can provide more onsite services.
  • Every staff member must take additional sensitivity type training annually, with abuse and dementia care education.  This is a contingency of job retention, so make it work, regardless of personal schedules, no excuses, no notes, no sorry I missed it.  As we used to say in the seventies..didn't get your pay, cause you missed training; "BUMMER." 

In the meantime, should none of these suggestions be embraced, I am willing to compromise with you, to place your fears at bay.

With tongue in cheek, I am requesting the latest version of the iPhone; at that point I am certain all commands will be voice activated, should my eyes fail me. 

I will record and place any of my photos and concerns on various forms of social media…because I CAN.  Look out twitter, facebook, instagram…and the list goes on.  I will also blog under the covers with a flashlight, when no one is looking.  

I hope and pray it never comes to this, heaven help us.  I hope someone listened to my words when I felt I had a voice...

If only I could put away the laundry list above, sooner than later, then I would sleep in peaceful bliss because our Elderly got exactly what they deserve: Care, Dignity, Respect ,and Aging with honour.

Your loving mom xoxo


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