Posted by: medicblog999 | September 27, 2009

It’s a shame it’s so rare.

elderly_care-300x272This post isn’t about a patient as such, but instead about a group of nurses and carers at one of my local nursing homes.

I witnessed something the other day that I don’t see often, something that I am sure all pre-hospital care providers the world over would find rather remarkable even though it should be the most basic standard of care offered to our elderly population. That of a team of nurses and carers who truly ‘care’ for their residents in their nursing home.

I, like many others have worried about the what ifs of if my parents or I will ever end up in a nursing home. I honestly hope that when it’s my time to go, I go quickly and don’t end up living for years in one of the many nursing homes whose care can sometimes be seen as ‘questionable’.

But in this homes case, it was different.

I was called as a Cat A emergency to the home for a patient who was obviously unwell. I get to this home fairly frequently and was met with a friendly smile and a

“oh, thank god it’s you!”,

which is always nice to here!

I was shown to the patients room and received a full and extensive handover. A full set of nursing observations had been done and when I asked for the patients medical history, the nurse reamed off an long list of complaints that this resident suffers with (without having to look at her notes!). I thought to myself,  ‘wow, she actually knows this patient’. That seems such an obvious thing to say, but the amount of times I ask the question and just get told

“oh I don’t know, she hasn’t been here long”
“I don’t know, I don’t normally work on this floor”

is just plain scary sometimes. Surely you cannot ‘nurse’ a patient unless you know all about their medical history?

Anyway, as I continued my physical assessment, I started noticing little things. Her nails were trimmed short and were clean, her hair was clean and well kept (although ruffled from bed), she was supported well in the bed and appeared comfortable. All the ‘little things’ that are so important.

Another nurse came in and told me that the daughter had been called and is going to try and get here before we leave, but then suggested to the nurse in charge that since the daughter lived local, why doesn’t she go and pick her up?

This was organised but before the nurse could leave the daughter arrived anyway.

My back-up crew arrived and took over care. We moved her to the ambulance and made her as comfortable as possible on the stretcher. I was completing my documentation when another nurse came running out of the front door and asked if the patient was already in the back of the ambulance.

Medic999: “yes, the crew are just getting her ready to leave?

Nurse: (clearly with tears in her eyes) ” but I haven’t had the chance to say goodbye to her!. What if she doesn’t come back? Could I please just say goodbye?”

Medic999: “of course you can”

With that I opened the side door to the ambulance and she jumped in and gave her a little kiss and said that she would see her when she got back. As she got off the ambulance, I could see that she was visibly upset by the whole thing.

The patients daughter was obviously upset too, but the nurses were around her comforting her and offering their support. They were all on first name terms and seemed more like close friends than staff and relatives.
I over heard one of the saying

“you just call us if there is anything we can do to help, ok?”

You know what though? I really think that they actually meant it!

It was such a refreshing change to see a dedicated, committed and caring team in a nursing home environment. I can honestly say that I haven’t seen that level of ‘care’ in the broadest sense of the word, anywhere else, and I had to write this post just to let then know.

Next time I am there, I will give them a link to this post so that they can see the impression they left on me, just by doing their job and doing it very well!

It’s all very easy to criticise people and practices, but it’s all together a different thing when someone or group of people should be praised for a job well done, and I hope that is what they will get from reading this post.

Until you call for me again…..


  1. It would be really great if you sent a copy of the blog post to the management of the nursing home. Staff hear about complaints all the time, but they rarely hear the compliments.

  2. Oh my goodness…

    That’s just amazing. Absolutely amazing. It’s so rare to hear any positive comments at all about extended care facilities, but to hear about one that may indeed be the best in the world? Well, that’s great. Just great to hear.

    I could not do the job of a nursing home staff member… I don’t think that I could do it day in and day out. And I don’t take enough time to recognize that fact. I do try to be very positive with the staff members and publicly and enthusiastically recognize anything good that I see.

    It’s too rare. Great Post.

  3. Mark,
    I agree. That was beautiful. All too often, we find what is wrong instead of what is ‘right’. The nurse in you really shows and you truly are a better medic as a result. Thank you for the kind words about nurses and do let their manager know……praise can go a long way in improving patient care and morale. It’s so nice to hear that they cared enough and respected their elderly patients.
    Thank you again, that was really beautiful.

  4. Good one Mark. I agree, you should send a copy of the blog to the home as excellence deserves recognition. As you say, this kind of treatment cannot be expected at some geriatric battery farms posing as care or nursing homes.

    I’m lucky in our area. We have a really A1 home (though not quite as good as the one you mention) and another which is a care home but all the staff (well, nearly all) seem very willing & keen. Both places are kept good and clean and the furniture & fittings are all in good nick. There’s the occasional smell of urine but it’s not all pervading, and the only time you smell food is when it’s meal time.

  5. Wow. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing them with the wider world.

  6. Lovely post Mark.

  7. Nice to that there are ‘carers’ who actually care.

  8. […] In other galaxies of the EMS blog universe, The Happy Medic wrote a hilarious wake up callto everyone who thinks the NBC series “Trauma” needs to be more real. The ever prolific Greg Friese gave us a few tips for new paramedics and still found time to publish a comprehensive look at EMS and Social Media for EMS Responder. Rescuing Providence aptly relates the feeling we all get when the call just goes wrong in Rear Window and Medic999 gives props to a local facility for their remarkable compassion in the post “It’s a Shame It’s So Rare“. […]

  9. Thats great to hear, it would be good to know which nursing home it was so so we can our loved ones in the right direction and if anyone of us knows the staff concerned they can pass details of your post onto them.

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