Last time my mom broke her hip she did time in a rehab up the street. Whole novels could be imagined, written, published, reviewed, read, pulped and forgotten in the time it took to get someone to answer her call light there.
The nursing staff was overworked and underpaid and most of their tasks were gross. The gnomes who ran the place squeezed every cent out of them by under-staffing to the bone. Between management greed and staff resentment, many patients' beds were soiled, and pains endured far far longer than necessary.
Come hip break #2 we are no longer innocent babes. Armed with the lessons of the past, we ask the new gnomes at rehab #2 about their response time to call lights. Turns out they have a new system in place that insures that all call lights are answered within ten minutes! The lights are on a high tech monitor-timer-thing that keeps a record of how long each light is on. This ensures prompt patient care, keeps the staff accountable and abolishes negligence.
Half way through our second night here, I can explain how it works.
1. When a patient's call light goes on, the nearest staff member goes in to that patient's room (within the ten minute period) and turns OFF the light, signaling that the problem has been addressed.
2. The staff member promises the patient to alert the nurse who handles pain meds or bed pans, then promptly disappears as if to do so.
Now the patient, knowing that she has been heard and that help is on the way, feels better...for a while. But even among the most trusting and optimistic, faith eventually gives in to despair. By the time the patient loses all hope and hits the call button again, so much time has passed that it looks like a whole new request.
The record on the fancy, high-tech employee monitoring system shows only the relentless demands of that cranky patient in 306.
¨Sheesh! She called at 7:00 then again at 7:45...8:24. What a pest!¨
Isn't that clever?
I am so glad my mother only has two hips.