Canada Kicks Ass

Peeling Turnips for Homecare
Date: Sunday, November 05 2006
Topic: Health and Well-Being

A healthcare story.


For a number of years, I worked as a Personal Support Worker in our community going from home to home to provide care for people who were too sick to help themselves or for people at the end of the road in their lives.  Along the road, I learned that not everybody got fair play in care giving.


You might say, how can this be, if people are treated equally in the system.  I believe itís pretty hard to find fair play when it involves people with different illnesses and of course different needs.  That in itself is not the problem.  You may have people who were born with physical challenges that require someone to come in daily to get them going in the morning, if only to get them out of bed.  You may find others who require Palliative Care since they're at the end of their lives and cannot even hope to help themselves at this time.  You may find others with chronic illnesses who can still do some things for themselves, but they find it challenging to do most every day things healthy people can do.  When you see the various needs of people too sick to help themselves, it goes without saying each case must be treated differently .


However, I came upon what I considered to be odd happenings in the system, which made me question if fairness in assessing peopleís needs were full proof.  For privacy protection I'll not disclose names, but I'll mention a few examples of things that made me scratch my head. 

Why should you care about who gets what when it comes to homecare?  I do think you need to think about this because at some point in your life, you, a loved one, or someone you know will require homecare. 


An elderly man living on a fixed income required some assistance to shower in his home.  His illness meant he could fall and harm himself seriously.  He was allowed a half hour timed shower with assistance once a week.  (I donít know about you, but I shower every day.)  In her 80ís, his wife received no respite to do errands, such as doctorís appointments for herself, groceries, etc.  She lived with the constant worry of leaving her husband for fear that he'd fall if left alone.  


In another situation, I met another wealthy and elderly couple who required assistance in showering.  However, the gentleman in question didnít want any assistance in the shower for privacy sake.  His wife went out during these times.  These folks were given four hours twice a week for homecare assistance in the home.  I was a virtual housekeeper because all I did was clean house in this luxurious home.   It was obvious that they could've afforded a housekeeper.


I'll never forget the case of pealing and cutting three large turnips for someone who had to prepare a meal for relatives for a family get together.  The spouse indeed had an illness that qualified him for homemakerís assistance.  Yet, while I took a few hours to peel these monstrous turnips, they went out.  


Though I believe all cases have to be analyzed based on the need of the person, I do feel there are some things the ďpowers that beĒ need to consider in making choices about who gets how much time, how much care, and who is abusing the system.  While itís hard for them to police everyone, I feel the two elderly couples did not have equal time.  I shudder to think at this poor elderly woman trying to do her best to care for her dying husband with what I consider unfair play in the assistance lot.  It makes me wonder if wealth played a role in this. 


Why should you care?  It could happen to you.




Suzanne Berton ©

This article comes from Canada Kicks Ass

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