This story will tell the reason the caregiver's responsibilities change when a loved one goes into a Skilled Nursing Facility, but they do not vanish.
Sunday I noticed Bill had "missed" the toilet so there was urine on the floor in his bathroom. I cleaned it up, but a little was left right at the base of his toilet - the same toilet that had a problem with the flapper causing it to run until it was adjusted. Monday when I went to see him it seemed as though the floor had not been washed. That day I also noticed he'd spilled a drink on the chest next to his bed. I picked up the styrophoam cup, but did not clean the chest - surely they would be cleaning later in the day. Tuesday I noticed the lovely bouquet of flowers we'd brought from the hospital really needed the water changed so I changed it. When I did so a couple of petals fell in the sink. Since I'd noticed the chest had not been wiped, and it seemed the floor had not yet been washed I assumed all would be taken care of later in the day I did not clean the sink out. Yesterday I went in to see Bill...he stood up and he had wet his pants and was sitting on his bed - not a recent accident either, I might add. I walked into his bathroom and dry urine was on the floor at the toilet.
Ann went into action....First stop was to advise the RN who was busy working at the med cart. She called the CNA, telling me Steven would be in directly to help with my husband. I told her I would take care of my husband - maybe he could take care of cleaning the room. Steven advised me he doesn't clean the rooms - would I like to speak with the Housekeeping Manager? Why yes, I certainly would. How about changing the bed - does he do that? Fine, he could do that. When the Housekeeping Manager came in I pointed out the few problems with the room...She called the Director of Housekeeping...He came in and was mortified - of course it would be cleaned. However, no one was there so he would SEE TO IT that the room is cleaned first thing this morning. And, oh, I forgot the soft drink on his tray - not sugar free...and then there are the two packets of sugar that come with his ice tea. I had told the RN about that before I discovered Bill was wet.
I'll be anxious to see what has been done today. I certainly hope they are able to find the time to clean his room. I informed them, rather firmly, yesterday that I am going to be in everyday. I will not allow my husband's dignity to be taken away in the manner I had already seen. He deserves to have his room cleaned and I won't stand for a room smelling of urine because it is not cleaned.
In order to "protect" Bill they have placed an alarm on his bed so that should he get out of bed someone will come to assist him. These alarms work so well - it usually takes a minimum of 5 minutes for someone to come check on the resident. I know what happened - Bill attempted to go the the bathroom, the alarm went off so he sat back down on the bed. The alarm stopped so no one checked on him. Now what? Well, what else is there to do but wet your pants???
As I said, caregiving duties change when a loved one enters a SNF - they do not disappear. I cannot change the fact that my husband needs this care, however I can ensure he gets the best care possible, his room is cleaned and he is clean. My husband's dignity will not be taken from him because he needs this care. His sweet spirit will not be taken advantage of through neglect. I will be heard!!!