Minding my business

Despite living in nursing homes for more than 21 years, I still grimace when an aide mentions private information about me during rounds with the aide for the next shift. Even though I know they need to share that information, I always think they could be more discreet.

It is necessary for the aides to know about their residents’ medical conditions, family background and significant others. I do not really care if an aide reads my chart, but I do not want them to tell me about it.

I have been uncomfortable when aides asked me personal questions, and kept at it even though I did not want to answer. I feel if a resident does not want to answer questions, the aide should drop it.

Many times, aides walk into my room deep in conversation. Often, medical or family information about another resident is discussed. Aides should understand that I do not do not want to be a party to their conversations and try to conduct them elsewhere.

I know I am a curiosity because I am quadriplegic. Aides who seem not to notice my differences and treat me with compassion make me feel more at ease.

For me, outings are a coping mechanism. But since I do not go out often, outings have become more difficult. I am always doubly anxious and probably do not disguise it well.

I realize aides see every grimace and facial expression when I am having a health, personal or family challenge. Even so, I feel I should be given some space and not asked for details.

Part of the frustration is I live in a fishbowl environment. Everyone knows everything. If something goes awry, and I react negatively, I realize whatever I do will be detailed in my chart.

When I was new to my first nursing home, I realized I told too much to aides I barely knew. But I realize aides are curious and many enjoy the side benefit of learning both mundane and interesting details about residents.

I am sure if aides and other staff lived the life of a resident, they would want the nursing home staff to exercise caution about how and where they share resident information.

Topics: Articles , Resident Care