“When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost“… Billy Graham
I started discussing our crumbling health care system in my last post and promised some follow up. I am basing this on my own personal experience however I can present hundreds of examples of poor medical decisions without searching to far. I just came across this one while doing some research on the level of homelessness affecting the aging population plus it has a personal overtone to one of my own situations.
This was a story of an 82 year old women who was discharged from a hospital in North Vancouver following cancer treatment for breast cancer. She was discharged to a homeless shelter, in part, because her apartment was bed bug infested. That’s an issue that can partly avoided through proper home care. Having a house keeper come by at least once a week can be a big help but apparently cleanliness and housekeeping are not considered a homecare service.
My own discharge was delayed due to concerns over my ability to live alone. While in hospital, with a major infection, I was approached by discharged services to see what I could use to make home a little better. I asked about house cleaning, not an easy task from a wheelchair. Whenever I wash my floors I have to go back over them with a dry mop to clean up the tire marks left due to wet wheels so house cleaning can be a challenge. However, based on the current thinking of health “administrators” house cleaning is not really seen as a health “care” issue. Unfortunately this administrative type thinking is pushed upon the care side of the program…case in point.
In my last post I spoke of my time in emergency waiting to be transferred to an in-patient medical bed. What I failed to mention was the introduction of the “hospitalist“, a concept I was aware of but have had limited experience with. Mine (and for protection of his privacy I can’t use his name even though he deserves praise) was a very nice genuine fellow. I was pretty please since he took time every day to touch base with me in emerg and eventually was able to obtain a bed for me on a surgical unit. So after three days in emerg I was moved to a four bed unit on a surgical unit. Hooray I now have a home of sorts. In a twisted way (my 20% jaded side coming out here) I went from the homelessness of emerg to the temporary social housing on the surgical unit. Process is process, fill in your own content (I’m suppose to wink here)…
So here I was in a unit with two gentleman awaiting nursing home placement. I believe they were both victims to dementia but I was the diagnosing person. After watching for almost four days I must say I am a little concerned about that the future holds for me as far as health-care is concerned. Some people just are not cut out to work with people and there were certainly a couple that are probably in the wrong field but you get what you pay for and health administrators put budget ahead of quality. They have been doing that since the mid 80’s with the advent of credentialism which puts a lot of lower paid workers in positions of trust they really are not capable of but it fits the budget.
When you know your history you start to realize just how wide the door was opened for hospital “administrators” following the Susan Nelles case. Nursing care was put behind administrative accountability, at least that’s the way it has been twisted over the last 30 years. We now confuse health administration with health care while throwing countless tax dollars at administration. Anyway back to my point..
When you read countless news stories from across Canada about huge wages and severance packages being paid to health administrator’s you have to question why hospitals are stuck with a budget for cardboard urinals. I can understand the preference for a health facility to want something like hospitalist, there can be some financial benefit but not as a tool for administration to control bed flow. The idea of re-using cardboard urinals just pushes the boundaries of the envelope to overfill.
When the urinal has been used enough times to create a wet spot of the counter, it’s past garbage time. To leave it beside your wash-up basin really raises the question over how serious Island Health takes infection control. I’m reportedly in a sterile environment that required staff and visitors to gear up in a disposal yellow gown and gloves (not that is was adhered to often) but the signage was there.
In all fairness the level of patient care was excellent given the working conditions being created by health administration…with a new health agreement on the horizon start registering your concerns with you MP/MLA’s today. Demand more health care and less health administration…
Just one mans opinion…