March 7, 2012

Eight signs of a bad caregiver or nurse

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                          8 Signs of a BAD Caregiver or Nurse:

  1. Can’t get off phone. This type of caregiver is always on the cell phone. Constantly speaking or texting on phone while getting PAID to care for and monitor elderly or disabled patients. This behavior is just plain ole' disrespectful and unprofessional. There are exceptions.  For instance,  say it's a night shift. The patient is asleep. However, since the patient needs to be monitored even when they are asleep, if the nurse is on the phone, it should be while facing the sleeping patient. Not with backed turned, oblivious to respiratory status and seizure activity. Use common sense! In essence, being on your cell phone while doing home care is only a problem when the nurse neglects the patient because they are so CONSUMED by their cell phone or being on the computer, they forget their patient! When else would it be okay to be on your cell phone as a nurse doing home health? Another exception could be during a day shift with an autistic patient, like my son, walks up to 5-8 plus hours a day.  During the marathon walking, some nurses play music for my son...awesome! Nothing wrong with that, but again, don't be texting your buddies or checking the news when you need to be mindful of your patient! A parent also shouldn't mind if nurse chats on a hands free cell phone, because it helps break the monotony of hours of walking.   Or, again, if it's night shift and my son is sleeping, fine, text away, so long as you are keeping your EYES and EARS on my son, to monitor him for seizure or SIB activity, which can happen while he's ASLEEP. And, you are actually counting his respirations, not just saying they were 18. The key is you are there for the patient, not to engage in personal business or entertainment on your cell phone. A few years ago, on a day shift, I once witnessed my son pick up leaves off ground and stuff them in his mouth, and the nurse didn’t even notice, since her eyes were glued to texting!  This nurse is long gone, thank God. ADIOS.

2.    Can’t stop texting: This caregiver is always texting. This is WORSE than talking on cell phone. Why? Because caregiver’s hands aren’t ready to react quickly, in the event a patient, let’s say, like my autistic son, suddenly hits self, bolts into street, eats foreign objects, or touches something hot. Texting takes the person’s hands, eyes and focus OFF client or patient. The can’t stop texting caregiver is pre-occupied with his or her own issues, instead of doing the job they are PAID for, which is to be involved in the patient’s issues. The can’t- stop-texting caregiver is better suited to work as a Text Chat Operator.  A GOOD caregiver or nurse does not constantly text while on duty. Again, the exception is at night if patient is asleep, but it takes a special nurse to keep eye on patient, while surfing net on cell phone.  The nurse that can't control himself or herself should stick with reading books, facing the patient's bed at all times, so you keep your eye on the patient, which is the reason you are there in the first place. And the reason you went to school to be a nurse, right? Let's hope so. 

3.    Can’t shut-up. We've only had ONE LVN like this and he was totally NUTS and is the son of the eye gouging RN caught on tape. This won't shut the F up caregiver shows up to work and the first thing isn’t to ask how the patient is doing, but to launch into a rapid flow of chit-chat about a variety of irrelevant subjects other than patient status, needs and care. This particular mental case, (whose father was later caught on camera abusing Jamey), would plop down and begin talking about personal problems. Mainly about his wife. And their sexual problems. It's terribly confusing to be in the presence of a nurse like this when you are exhausted and desperate for help in a system that leaves you with little choices and support. This same nurse, which I tell you about so you can compare if you have a similar nut job in your midst, would then waste 25 minutes going on about what happened in his life. This type of nurse may ramble about who they saw, what they ate, or how they did something. Or how their sex life with their wife or husband sucks. And how they wish the wife  or husband would do more kinky things...yeah, I know, so disgusting. This is what we've had to deal with. There is no end to the talking with the can't shut the F up nurse. To them, working home health is as if they’ve just arrived to a mental health meeting. Not a job that they're being PAID to do. It’s unknown what the etiology of the can’t-shut-up flipping mental case personality is. It could be Bi-Polar or ADHD. Or just shit bat crazy. The bottom line is: A GOOD caregiver comes to work and asks how patient is doing, what meds were given, what patient health and behavioral status is. There is always time for a little talk later, which is fine, and nice, so long as it isn’t burdening family members or delaying other nurses coming off shift. A GOOD caregiver or nurse is focused on patient care. Not burdening the family or others with their personal shit. 
Of course there are exceptions, for instance if a nurse has worked with you for several years and you become like family and the nurse is generally mentally stable and kind and is a great nurse....then, well, okay, there will be times you may need to listen to their problems out of respect and kindness for all the hard work they've put into helping your loved one. 

4.    Always late. And always have an excuse. Either it's the weather, the traffic, the alarm clock didn't go off or they were up late at a special party for a special occasion. I'm talking occasional lateness, which happens to the best of us. This type of nurse is ALWAYS late. I’m talking 15-30 minutes late. You know the type. NO shame. And there is always a ridiculous, dramatic excuse, as if they’ve got an excuse list they play off until it's so worn down they have to create a new play list. A GOOD caregiver or nurse is nearly always on time. Ironically, the same nurse that will ALWAYS be late for their job, will always be ON TIME to send in their work hours. Oh yeah, you know the type. 

5.     Always asking for something or snooping around your house.   Can I borrow this or that from your house? Hey that's a nice tool, that's a nice pie dish, that's a nice CD, hey I like that movie and oh, what are you cooking for dinner????...shut the f up go back to your patient and do your job.  This isn't your home. It's your work place. (I worry about this type because now you’re wondering if they’re scoping out personal stuff in the home). At some point you may catch them sitting on your couch, reading your magazine, while your disabled loved one is sitting in a chair across the room. Then there's the Can I get off early? Can I come in later? Can I pick up another shift, and well, yeah I know I'm always late and claim extra hours but I need the money and I know if you complain then the state will think there's something wrong with you instead of me, even though I've fucked over your family in a the most passive aggressive ways. I forgot my lunch, do you mind if I eat some of your food? Do you mind if I take a shower here? Do you mind if I bring along my friend? My wife? Can I bring my Christmas presents to wrap? Can I use your air compressor, I have a flat tire? Can you drive to the nearest hardware store and pick me up some jumper cables, my battery is dead. Hey, I like that juice you bough can you pick me up some next time you go to Trader Joes? Gosh, I wish I had a home like this, you’re so lucky (coveting the home or things of a patient is a major RED FLAG). NOT NORMAL> These are actually things some caregivers and nurses have said in the past. And's it fucking weird. And wears on you. There are some WEIRD WEIRD people who are Licensed Vocational Nurses and Certified Nurse Aides, though I must admit, I've seen more weird LVNs than CNAs. If I can spare ONE family the misery, or torment of what we've gone through, by illuminating the truth, I’m happy. Watch your back and your loved ones back when these people are in your home, especially when they begin to resent you because you don't give them enough shifts, even though the reason you don't is because they lie all the time about little shit, like being late and what medications were given. Fuck that. So sick of these freaks. 

  1. Got no skills. This caregiver or nurse is a puzzling presentation. The caregiver may have 13 years experience and a degree from a nursing school, but they don’t know how to give oxygen, don’t understand what a seizure is and don’t understand how to give medications with food (i.e.. they plop whole pills onto a spoon with peanut butter and stuff in patient’s mouth, with the peanut butter stuck on palate, patient gagging, and they keep stuffing more peanut butter in—just clueless). Don’t bathe or clean patient properly. This type of caregiver’s idea of a bath is a 5-minute shower where water falls off the body and then it’s out, towel dry, and on goes a sprinkle of powder. They don’t know how to change a diaper. Diaper is always half on, too loose or too tight. They can’t write proper nursing notes. Don’t understand ambulation therapy (walking) with a patient. Don’t know how to assist a patient in and out bed, bath or cars. Don’t understand how to monitor side effects of medications. A GOOD caregiver or nurse has got GOOD skills. Skills like health monitoring, personal care, patient safety, wound care, nutritional knowledge, medication management and patient assistance. Skills they practice; take pride in and improve on.

  1. Bad Attitude. Easily offended. Constantly depressed. Constantly complains. No sense of humor. Negative. Families living with a disabled or elderly relative who requires constant care are often tired, cynical and depressed enough. They don’t need someone paid to help, entering the home and tripling the stress. Any caregiver or nurse that views the patient in a negative light or says negative things about the patient’s health status--should be terminated. Also, nurses who judge or gossip about patient or family are bad people to have around.  You can’t trust them. They aren’t loyal. Nurses and caregivers are expected to protect the privacy of both patient and family.  A GOOD caregiver or nurse is always positive and displays a helpful, supportive personality. Above all, a good caregiver is always the patient’s cheerleader. Cheering for hope, healing, comfort and happiness. Indeed, a positive, uplifting attitude about patient is so critical, I’d tolerate a can’t-shut-up or always late nurse, as long as they were good in every other way, with my son. That’s how much I value a positive, uplifting attitude
  2. Resents correction. Can't take the slightest criticism, even when caught doing goofy things. Looks away from you while you're correcting their goofy behavior.  Thinks they can make executive decisions. They may withhold a medication. Yep, one caregiver told me "I didn't think your son needed it [the medication that helps him sleep]." Look for this too: when I was correcting a new nurse about how to properly handle my son, right in the middle of me telling him he shouldn't talk negatively to him (he was calling him a bad boy) he looks at me and says, "Are you feeling ok today, Kim? You don't look well." It doesn't take a psychologist to see this kind of manipulative freak. This is what caregivers who are mentally ill do. They repress their anger and disdain and irritation for patient and family, while they still show up to work as if they want to stay and continue bringing confusion and negativity into everyone's lives. Get rid of them. 

Finally, remember there are more GOOD caregivers and nurses than BAD ones. It’s equally important to remember BAD ones can seriously harm or kill your loved one. So don’t be too cynical or too na├»ve. A family should honor and respect good caregivers and nurses. Little things matter. I keep a candy jar in my son’s room for nurses. I thank nurses for good things done with my son. A GOOD caregiver or nurse is a blessing. Treat them well. Hopefully, this list will provide insight into securing GOOD caregivers for your precious loved one.

Additionally, there is a state employee by the name of Jane D. who likes post anonymous comments on the blog. Hi Jane. And yes, you should look into a new dental plan. 


Laura B said...

I am autistic. I have had past caregivers that fit these descriptions. My current caregivers are the best ones I have ever had and they fit these descriptions as well. I am going to print this out and highlight which ones fit each of them. I have thought something is not right with them but I couldn't figure out what it was.

Overmyhead said...

You are an angel. I've been struggling alone trying to find good caregivers and I have been plagued by thinking maybe I was too picky - WELL, NOT. You pegged many of the types I have had. Add to the list: caregivers that do not have valid driver licenses, caregivers who are always on their laptop and - surprise - are working a second job on-line! Caregivers who always know what you are going to tell them before you tell them - and then do the job their own way - their own lazy way. How to warn other not to hire the ones I had to fire?

Overmyhead said...

You are an angel. I've been struggling alone trying to find good caregivers and I have been plagued by thinking maybe I was too picky - WELL, NOT. You pegged many of the types I have had. Add to the list: caregivers that do not have valid driver licenses, caregivers who are always on their laptop and - surprise - are working a second job on-line! Caregivers who always know what you are going to tell them before you tell them - and then do the job their own way - their own lazy way. How to warn other not to hire the ones I had to fire?

13mithious said...

Thank you so much for this list. I have moved to a new state and have had5 caregivers. I have a spinal cord injury and other major health issues. You nailed it on that list. The current care giver I have fits two of the lists descriptions. She is a really good worker, but can't take correction at all. Does things her way, even though she has been told that there is always a reason she is being asked to do things a certain way. This is a wheelchair friendly house, but she always seems to have stuff all over the floor, right in the way of the bathroom and sink even though she has been asked to not do that kind of things until later in the day so that morning routine is not blocked to wheelchair. I also suspect she is passive aggressive. She also talks about me to other people regardless of being told privacy is a huge issue and she is to talk with no one about me. There is more, but that gives an idea anyway. Thank you again. I had thought about dismissing her, but since it's so hard to find help in our rural area, I had hesitated but am finding it is affecting me health and even my own outlook on life, which used to be very good, even under the circumstances. Again, thank you for validating, and putting into words what I couldn't.

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