Just a simple little blog to talk about my knitting, my cats, my wonderful son, and perhaps other things in my life.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

OT: Family/Social Issue

OK, I know this is a knitting blog but I heard about something today and I just have to vent a little.

I have been practicing EC (Elimination Communication) with my son since he was 4 months old. This basically means that I have been offering him the choice of using a potty or the toilet instead of his diaper at regular intervals and trying to read his signals that tell me he needs to go. This has worked well for us and I feel is a loving way to offer my son some dignity and power over his bodily functions that most children his age aren't given.

One of the main arguments that is brought forward in defense of EC goes something like this: Imagine your Mother has been moved to a nursing home. They care for her well, feed her, keep her clean, etc. She can't talk very well anymore but she can still indicate when she needs to go to the bathroom or if she has lost control and needs to be changed. What would you prefer the caregivers do 1. Listen to her and take her to the bathroom or change her as soon as she signals a need or 2. Tell her that it's OK and that they will be back in 20 minutes to change her?
The usual response is "Of course I would want option 1, she's my Mother, she better be listened to" So then the EC side says why wouldn't you give your child the same respect and take them to the potty or change them when they signal they need to go.

I was talking about this to my Mother tonight. She then proceeded to tell me that my Grandmother who is in Extended Care is not getting this level of care from the nurses there. She doesn't complain because she doesn't want to make waves, and besides in the past when she has asked to be taken to the bathroom or to be changed when she lost control she was told "It's OK those pads are good for up to 4 hours, we'll be back to change you soon." So she has just stopped asking.

This is my Grandmother, the person whose home I went to after I was born, the person who helped me learn to walk, and later taught me to knit. This woman who has been through so much in her life and done the best she could for her family isn't being give the same basic dignities that I have worked so hard to give my son. It is age reversal at it's worst. I am working so hard to keep my son clean and dry and give him the choice of where to eliminate so that he has some control in his young life; and there is my grandmother a grown woman who's only crime is getting old and showing the effects of several small strokes who is being told to just sit and wait and don't worry about the wet pad.

I know the nurses are busy and the hospital is under staffed. It is a small town and they really do try the best they can. The attention they give to my Grandmother is over all quite good and they do care about those in their charge. I just can't believe that my mother now has to go to the nurses and fight to have my Grandmother taken care of with the dignity she deserves. I didn't think this still occurred. I guess I just wasn't looking in the right places.

Thanks for letting me vent. Please, if someone you love is in a Care facility be sure to check in often and at random times. Keep the nurses on their toes, keep them honest, and ask about anything that looks out of the ordinary. This kind of treatment is just part of what could happen in a Care Facility, much worse is possible. Let's keep our Elders safe.

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