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Dealing with contentious aides

September 12, 2011
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This is the story of resident, who shall go unnamed, in need of assistance with most activities of daily living. Particular aides are causing difficulties for this resident and are making her life quite miserable.

The aides work on night shift. They transfer her roughly, giving her little time to catch her balance. If she needs straightened in the shower chair, they complain loudly. If she says anything during her care, they deride her for being “too particular.”

She has countered their verbal jabs, which made things worse. But being quiet during the shower makes her feel like a “victim.”

She wonders if she is being treated this way because she is alert and oriented—or because she wants her care done a certain way.

These aides were reported to the director of nursing, the administrator and the regional ombudsman. Though facility management did not feel these scenarios were happening, the aides schedules changed and the resident did well with other aides doing her shower. But that scheduling change was only temporary.

The ombudsman made a 4 a.m. visit to the facility during the resident's shower. But that morning everything was fine because a different aide was doing it. The ombudsman's attempt to make a long-term change was therefore unsuccessful.

The resident steels herself to put up with the aides’ bullying. Other residents have recounted similar experiences with these aides. But since they need less assistance, they have not tried to stop them.

The resident is hanging on and hopes that someone will overhear the aides taunting her someday and put a stop to it.

Kathleen Mears


Kathleen Mears is a long-time blogger who has been a nursing home resident for 21 years. She is...



Kathleen, is there a psychologist consulting in your facility? Perhaps the unnamed resident would benefit from talking with the psychologist about strategies to handle the situation and from having an advocate within the nursing home. Sometimes psychologists provide staff training, and can offer feedback to the administration about how to resolve conflicts. It sounds like those in charge have heard the resident's concerns and taken some actions, but further steps need to be taken to successfully resolve the problem. If I can be of assistance, please let me know.

Dr. El