Senior Citizens Must Be Treated With Dignity By Healthcare Professionals

Minister of Health Donville Inniss

Extracted from the Facebook Page of  SURVIVING OUR HARSH ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT

Yesterday my grandmother was admitted into one of the District hospitals. Her caretaker (one of her children) left three new house dresses, two new night gowns, a new pair of bedroom slippers in the suitcase next to her bed until a plastic clothes locker could be bought. With a permanent marker and in large print my mother marked her name and ward. My mom while on the ward saw a box of cereal on top of the refrigerator. Knowing that my grandmother doesn’t eat that she asked what is served for breakfast. The nurse asked her “what do you want to know that for?” and  did not disclose that info.

They said that since my grandmother was new, she might want to walk off or give trouble so they restrained her to her bed by tying her hands and around her waist. While we understood that we wondered if she would be in those restraints all day and night without a chance to walk around but we figured that since she still uses the bathroom on her own, she would get mobility when she had to go there and also for showers. However, the nurse then informed the caretaker and my mother that they were to buy diapers for her and they said well she uses the bathroom on her own and she said well we will put her in diapers. Water settled in my mother’s eyes at the thought of leaving her mother there, it was hard decision. The nurse saw her and said “what are you crying for? Ppl have to die” My mother told her “she is my mother and it is difficult for me to leave her here”.

Today when we went to visit, my grandmother was drugged and unresponsive for the most part only saying “yes” when she heard “grandmother” at one time. The hand restraints were gone but she was still tied around the waist. The locker was brought and when the suitcase was opened to transfer the clothes, apart from a clean nightgown she was wearing (dirty one was put in clothes basket to be collected and taken home for washing) NOT ONE WAS in there, only the panties remained. The bedroom slippers were gone too. So we were like who could take those things, no one on the ward is allowed to get off of the bed so it couldn’t be any of the old ppl. When we questioned one of the nurses on duty, she said that she had just come on duty so she didn’t know but the one who was there yesterday, she was very cold and said that they prb got mixed up in the laundry for the other patients, so i was like how could they get mixed up if they were not worn, were in a suitcase plus there is a sign over her bed saying not to remove her clothes to take to the laundry? the nurse looked vexed and did not respond, so i went outside so as to “not make bad” for my grandmother according to the caretaker.

The caretaker noticed a large black and blue mark on her arm so she asked why my grandmother’s arm was like that, if she was being difficult. The nurse said “what it is yu trying to say? you come asking me about bruises on her arm and if she was being difficult? what are you trying to say?” so the caretaker said, no i don’t mean it that way but yesterday there were no bruises and her arm looks bad, so the nurse then said that they had to take blood and she wouldn’t keep still to get that done, hence a number of puncture marks and bruises. well the nurse was as cold as a freezer. However, just before the others left (as i was still outside) the shoes were found (i wonder why they were out of her suitcase and away from her bed?)

I just pray that the Lord will protect all patients, especially the elderly and differently able, under the care of nurses and that genuinely good nurses would look after them.

50 thoughts on “Senior Citizens Must Be Treated With Dignity By Healthcare Professionals


  1. Ever so often when I have to leave home where the possibility exist that I
    might encounter fools, most times I’ll take my camera along. It has come in handy on more than one occasion. So far most schmucks would cut the bull sh#t rather than see themselves on the net acting the fool.
    There are recording devices for the telephone, my ex-girl friend found out the hard way, now I use it when ever I do business on the phone.
    Recently got a phone company employee to cut the crap after I played back our conversation. The next time you visit with your grandmother, take your camera along.


  2. while i hold no brief for caregivers and would admit that they are some who by their uncouth conduct to those whom they have pledged to serve bring discredit to the noble profession; the tone of your comments from the outset suggests that you are one of those kinds of persons who seek to make the already difficult task of those treating the elderly even more difficult by demanding more than what the institution is able to provide because of its limitations in all circumstances. persons like you should keep your elderly charges at home and give them the affordable care you demand and leave the ignominy in your view of these institutions for the less fortunate.


    • @balance

      Perhaps you are harsh in your comments and should address the complaint at hand. Tone has nothing to do with it!


  3. balance i am surprised at the your judgemental comments are you not aware that these horror stories have being told about the district hospital this is not the first or would it be the last.Wether a person can afford or not afford to take care of their elderly is not the focus of the article but the way in which the elderly person is treated . like everything else it is always so easy to blame the victim rather than look at the seriousness of the situation and take steps to correct it for none of us knows when it would be our turn and we would want to be treated with dignity.


  4. To David:
    There is no excuse for maltreating the elderly who are in our institutions. However, that lady or grand daughter, should formally complain to the Chief Medical Officer and the Permanent Secretary and have her allegations investigated. In relation to the missing items if the Management of the institution does respond as they should she should call the Police.


  5. @lwmuel

    The solution is to remove the senior citizen from the DH. However this not always possible for some. The challenge for those people is to report the matter may mean victimization.


  6. PROBLEM: “Knowing that my grandmother doesn’t eat that she asked what is served for breakfast. The nurse asked her “what do you want to know that for?” and did not disclose that info.”

    SOLUTION: The district hospital should post the week’s or month’s menu in a prominent place where all staff, patients and relatives can see it. ANd they should as far as possible stick to the menu.
    Staff should answer all questions politely. It is not hard to be polite


  7. PROBLEM: she might want to walk off or give trouble so they restrained her to her bed by tying her hands and around her waist.

    SOLUTION: Th immediate use of restrains is worrying, especially in a patient who still understands hos to use the toilet. Instead of restraining patients perhaps the dood should simply be kept closed and locked.


  8. PROBLEM: we figured that since she still uses the bathroom on her own, she would get mobility when she had to go there and also for showers. However, the nurse then informed the caretaker and my mother that they were to buy diapers for her and they said well she uses the bathroom on her own and she said well we will put her in diapers.

    NO SOLUTION: Because this patient will no longer be able to go to the bathroom on her own, she WILL become incontinent, and harder to care for. She will delevop bedsores. This WILL hasten her disability and death.


  9. You don’t have to be old and infirm to be treated with total contempt by such right officious creeps in Barbados.
    There are many cases I can cite as endemic in all forms of dealings in Barbados.
    Even last night I had a chat with my brother – he and his wife went to get some fried chicken yesterday an as he described it, the menu was as though it had been written by birds.
    Asking for an explanation of items, they were met by a wall of silence from the dummy the other side of the counter.
    My travels have been to the Far East, India, all over Europe and North America and I’ve never encountered such crass and idiotic behaviour as confronts one in Barbados.
    It displays a total lack of interpersonal skills and the plantation mentality that is all to prevalent.


  10. To David:
    I know that people are normally not inclined to complain because of the fear of victimization, but actually if a letter is written to the Chief Medical Officer and the Permanent Secretary, there will be an investigation. The rules mandate that they must carry out an investigation and report back to the author of the letter. You may be surprised how fast that thought of any reprisal shall disappear. The reason for that is that the matter is now in a public forum and the officer or officers will face disciplinary action if there is a case of malpractice.

    Let also say to you the larceny of patients’ property can be reported directly to the Police.


  11. @Whitehill

    The next time you visit with your grandmother, take your camera along
    ***********************
    The hospital management won’t allow you to take photos in the hospital unless you are from the “official” Press when they have all the patients and room spruced up as they never know if you will publish something that may embarrass them). However you may get around that with the new technology, you can always make a call with your cell phone (wink wink).

    It’s a difficult job caring for the elderly and some of the caregivers are empathetic and helpful, some of the others I wouldn’t let them care for my dog, and I don’t even have a dog.


  12. PROBLEM: no one on the ward is allowed to get off of the bed

    SOLUTION: Everyone in the ward should be allowed to get of the bed. Patients should be encouraged to be as mobile as they are able. It is more work for the nurses. But we pay them well. The family should also be encouraged to visit everyday and to help gran walk around as much as she is able. Perhaps all of gran’s children, and grandchildren and any loving in-laws should create a roster and a family member should visit everyday.
    A few years ago my mother was unable to get of the bed at the QEH. She complained that her hospital baths were inadequate and she felt dirty. We asked permission to take her to the bathroom on the ward. That permission was refused. My 2 sisters and I lifted our mother off the bed, took her to the bathroom, gave her a proper bath, dried and dressed her and put her back to bed. Once the nurses saw that we were competent to bathe our own mother she said and did nothing for subsequent baths. My mother was in for 10 weeks, was seriously ill, but recovered and lived for another 9+ years. I mean what could the QEH do call the police? Lock up 3 middle aged ladies for the “criminal” offense of bathing their own elderly mother? ? Stupse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It probably helps that I have 3 nursing sisters who between them have 135 years of experience and who were able to offer advice. However one of the QEH nurses a lazy 300 pounder took umbrage and still does not speak to me or my sisters. However we continue to smile sweetly and say “good morning” whenever we meet her ever though we care nothing about her obese rass.
    In this life you have to acknowledge your own power, and USE it. Institutions too often feel that their role is to assert themselves over you. Don’t let them. And smile all the time even while disobeying the monsters.


  13. To David,
    You are quite right, after all ppl that expect their elderly relatives to get proper care are all rich, while poor ppl who can’t do any better that th district hospital don’t care what happens to their mum or grand mum . . that’s what you trying to say right? I hope when you reach dat age and someone puts u in diapers becuz they prefer u to lie down in ur bed like a vegetable all day and not bother anyone with ur wants or needs . . . dat’s all I saying.


  14. I find it very difficult to read this posting without being frightened and sad and there is this dark fear in me that tells me that we have some Barbarians who work for the state. In fact too many. I am scared yes very scared for those who are in there receiving this kind of inhumane treatment and those who will be admitted one day. What kind of animals work in these places?

    When you are poor you are treated like trash, when you are old and poor you are treated like a dead animal. How can anyone human being treat another like this? How can anyone stomach this after reading this? I am really upset.


  15. To Island Girl:
    I share all of the sentiments that you have expressed in your last post, but this is where the great human experiment is taking us. It seems as if when we think that we are evolving into some thing great, the reality is that many behave as though the giving up of animalistic tendencies are too much to bear. I know that you do not subscribe to the sentiments of the bible’s God but at times like these the only thing left for us to say is God have mercy.


  16. Google elder abuse.

    Barbados does not treat its elders properly.

    This is but one more example.

    Respect and look out for your elders because one day you too will become one and will need care and attention.

    Like children elders need care, love and attention.

    I remember my grandfather saying in his twilight years “once a man, twice a child”. This is true for each man …. and woman too.

    He was fortunate to have had a caring empathetic person looking after his well being at the home until he died at 91, in full control of his mental faculties and as powerful and interesting as ever, but requiring physical care.

    Maybe the District Hospital is not the place for this elderly lady and her family needs to figure out an alternative.

    …… but it should not be so.

    Our paid servants at the Ministry of Health need to put a more human face to the tough job we give them to do.


  17. Isn.t what we are fighting about at present the incompetency of the system.some one mentioned writing letters and complaints right know we are seeing a manifestation of where the system sat on their handsand knees and ignore letters of complaints that were sent to them


  18. I wrote a letter of complaint (I complained for both senior doctors and nurses by name) to the QEH in December 1992 and I have not yet received any acknowledgement or response. Since 1992 I have not moved house, I have not changed jobs, I have not changed my phone nymber. The QEH knows how to reach me.

    But the QEH has not responded.

    But whenever they ready I ready.

    A lot of our very senior civil servants are a lazy bunch of jokers.

    And workers at the bottom of the civil service scale follow their example.

    Fortunately I am as healthy as a horse and I don’t have to go around those people (not yet)


  19. Fortunately they, especially the 300 hundred pounders will all be dead from thier self indulgence by the time I am ready to go there


  20. Random the QEH have sent your response via SNAIL MAIL. The only problem is that it must have eaten bait along the way and died.

    Seriously many institutions and businesses have no customer etiquette at all. Job seekers are asked to apply for a job and are told that unsuccessful applicants will be not be considered? When I see this I get mad because I consider this extremely nasty, why bother to advertise. Then if you are called for an interview and after you hear nothing not even a phone call to say that they have found someone more suitable.


  21. iislandgal246 | January 16, 2012 at 10:47 AM |
    Lemuel …..I can bet my last penny that these care givers all claim to be Christians.
    ***************************************************************************************
    So too are many of those who still insist on burning all sorts of stuff in their backyards, without a single thought for their neighbours. So much for the parable of the Good Samaritan.


  22. Balance: Are you really talking ‘balance’ or are you being confrontational. I read the post and the language and actions were controlled and no signs of aggression. But alas! Up jump Balance, who ain’t read the submission or probably cannot understand the substance of the complain, but jump to conclusion labeling the people as trouble makers. I encountered this type of behaviour with my own mother. Don’t get me wrong, the majority of nurses (99%) act in a professional way and are more than helpful, but that 1% can cause maximum destruction. Things like stealing the elderly things like carrying away clothing or taking home cereal, fruits, health drinks that were meant for the elderly. We must also look at the behaviour of the elderly family and friends who try to intimidate the nurses and behave in an aggressive manner. If your elderly family needs a bed pan. Don’t shout cross the room and tell the nurse who might be dealing with a serious case with another patient that “You want a bedpan now” get off your backside and find out where the bedpan are stored and try and help your family. Once you show care, the nurses will be more comfortable and assist. These are people too.
    So BALANCE, please show a balanced perspective instead of your nonsense.


  23. @ Random Thoughts:
    good for you, been to the QEH on several occasions to visit with others,
    the attitude of the staff was sickening, worst was the adult Barbadians who took the crap while there and did nothing. Of course they tried to cut my throat once in the parking lot.


  24. Recently we sought to engage Clyde Mascoll on his FB page and he was fairly blunt and terse in his response to a challenge. His position is that Barbados needs to grow revenue. Our challenge was to what end, to encourage the growth in vehicles from 130K to 160K or personal vacation trips abroad from 2 to 3?

    Now that his topic has been posted an additional question could have been, grow revenues but continue to neglect our aged as we become an impersonal society our smallness not making one damn of difference?

    The growing behaviour to ill treat and distance ourselves from the ages is a graphic indicator of what our society is evolving to.


  25. To Island Gal:
    I too agree that most of them would call themselves christian,but that does not excuse their acts of gross inhumanity to other disadvantaged human beings.


  26. If we heard on the news about this kind of thing happening in other parts of the world, say in N.Korea or China, we would just dismiss it as “what do you expect from these primitive people?” Restraining patients without first evaluating their abilities is just pure laziness – they don’t want to be bothered with them, and it’s easier to put them in diaper s and change them than to supervise bathroom visits. It’s pure laziness, and the defensive attitude of the nurse when questioned probably means that you saw just the tip of the iceberg.


  27. Sid Boyce says…..’My travels have been to the Far East, India, all over Europe and North America and I’ve never encountered such crass and idiotic behaviour as confronts one in Barbados.
    It displays a total lack of interpersonal skills and the plantation mentality that is all to prevalen….

    What a lucky person (or unlucky) you are…..

    I am in NYC and it is just as bad here at times. I encountered the same bad behavior in Montreal at the Royal Victoria Hospital .

    Pleas don’t try to portray this as a Bajan only problem.
    So…did those ‘other’ races I met have plantations too?


    • I was not commenting solely on hospital related experiences. I have never had an occasion to visit a hospital in any of those countries and only once visited a Doctor in Germany with a bad bout of the flu.

      If it were isolated to hospitals you could ascribe it to that environment alone, sadly it’s endemic to Barbados in my experience, though others with knowledge of other Caribbean Islands relate similar encounters and attitudes.

      Note I did cite my brother’s experience trying to order fried chicken a few days ago and that’s not atypical, I could recite a whole litany of similar experiences.

      In the UK our journalists will sign on as agency staff and expose any shortcomings or abuse they are made aware of so the hospital management, the staff and the whole country gets a fireside view on TV of what goes on.


  28. islandgal246

    Couldn’t help but think of the situation as described in which your grandmother finds herself.

    It is her taxes during her working life which upkept the District Hospital and paid its staff. Now yours and ours do.

    I think you have two options.

    Either, raise hell and demand proper care and attention. Document, date and photograph any thing you find wrong.

    If not for your grandmother then do it for you who may one day find yourself in the same bed cared for in the same system. All of us may get old.

    Or, accept the status quo and move her where she can get better care.


  29. IM A grown man who loves his mother to death and even tho she is still strong and active it brought a tear to my eye to read this and think what if she was being treated like this or in this position.


  30. Sid Boyce | January 16, 2012 at 8:18 AM |
    My travels have been to the Far East, India, all over Europe and North America and I’ve never encountered such crass and idiotic behaviour as confronts one in Barbados.
    It displays a total lack of interpersonal skills and the plantation mentality that is all to prevalent.
    *******************************************************************************
    Must agree entirely with you,and I’ll also include the red-neck states of USA. Plantation Mentality it is, as we seem to reserve the niceties for visitors and the local plantocracy.


  31. This problem like some of you stated is a world wide problem. It is not endemic to Barbados. BUT when faced with this barbarity we MUST attempt to stamp it out.

    It is very difficult to instill empathy and kindness in grown adults. This had to start at home and at school. There must be a code of conduct for these employees and they must be monitored and dealt with on a regular basis. Proper training seems to be lacking and the must be some investigative journalism to expose the culprits who terrorize our elders.

    We will all walk this path one day and it is up to us to change the system. This horror we are reading about makes Euthanasia seem a better alternative than to be treated like this.


  32. @ David
    “His position is that Barbados needs to grow revenue. Our challenge was to what end, to encourage the growth in vehicles from 130K to 160K or personal vacation trips abroad from 2 to 3?”
    *****************
    Welcome back ‘the real’ David, Bushie missed you …..LOL

    As you correctly point out here, we continue to bark up the wrong tree in terms of our priorities in life. Mascoll is well known for his preoccupation with ‘economic growth’ and this commonly held mentality leads to the uncaring and crude behavior described and to issues like “Hardwood…”

    That is what we get when 99.9% of us continue to busily live our lives focusing on accumulating ‘things’ while making absolutely NO EFFORT to try to establish the TRUE and CORRECT purpose of life, and the REAL priorities thereof….
    …..which, by the way, is the individual creation and refinement of RIGHTEOUS CHARACTER.


  33. Without being accused of being personal, the simple fact is that Barbadians have no time and respect for the elderly. How often we see senior citizens trying to cross the road, and pedestrians nearby, fail to lend assistance,and like the driver I saw recently who blasted his horn at an elderly person who was attempting to cross at a pedestrian crossing,although the driver had adequate distance in which to pull up.
    There are also horror stories of ill treatment of the elderly, who are more or less “bed and breakfasted”, at private nursing homes. One wonders if the many nurses now employed at these private nursing homes for the elderly ,are entitled or qualified for membership of the Barbados Nurses Association.
    We should however never forget that Charity begins at Home.


  34. but you know techie i like you and like you a lot but i have to spank your behind for your dismissive attitude .like your comment “it happens all over” just don’t cut it. that is a defeatist attitude and we can no longer look at the way things are done but at the right and proper way “Things should be Done”


  35. yeah colonel i agree with some of your points. However in a fast moving industrial society things are moving rapidly the time which we so often cherised has evaporated before our very eyes. meaning we don;t just have enough time to do all of what we wish or hope to do daily therfore some of our responsibilties we turn over to others hoping in turn they would do as good a job or better than we can. but most of the time we are disappointed.


  36. @ac….

    but you know techie i like you and like you a lot but i have to spank your behind for your dismissive attitude .like your comment “it happens all over” just don’t cut it. that is a defeatist attitude and we can no longer look at the way things are done but at the right and proper way “Things should be Done”

    Don’t spank me 😉

    That response was in relation to a poster who would seem to portray Bim as haven for this behavior alone.

    I think you took one statement entirely out of context but I can see why. It’s sometimes hard to follow a thread and post simultaneously 😉


  37. @Lemuel

    The compaint should be forwarded to the Manager, Geriatic hospital if it the one in the Bayland. If it is one of the other hospitals catering to the old, I think they are run by Principal Nursing officers.

    It can be cc to the Chief Nursing Officer, the Chief Medical Officer and the PS, Health.


  38. tell me why; i am heartened by your response because it indicates to me that you see merit in my balanced position. i carefully tried to indicate that the behaviour of some of the personnel in these health care institutions and i might add now the QEH as well leaves much to be desired but bowing to speculative commentary like most of the bloggers ac especilly included do; i speculated that the complainant was one of those kinds of persons who expect five star luxury treatment in a one star run down overcrowded hotel without the requisite necessities readily available at al times. never at anytime in my comments did i lend support to the illtreatment of the elderly or anyone entrusted to the care of these institutions. many of us tend to ignore the fact that these district hospitals operate at minimum cost and as such the caregivers work under trying circumstances having to cut and contirve on a daily basis. i can empathise with the resentment when in the midst of working in difficult circumstances being bombarded with such selfserving questions of menu and such like. the caregivers can only work with what they have. yes there is always room for improvement because some caregivers can be unmannerly by nature and do not like the nasty experiences they have to endure in taking care of elderly persons which we ourselves avoid by placing those we pretend to love so much into these same institutions.however, i would not stand idly by and allow the 99% good eggs working in these institutions identified by tell me why be unfairly castigated.


  39. @Random Thoughts | January 16, 2012 at 8:18 AM |
    “we figured that since she still uses the bathroom on her own, she would get mobility when she had to go there and also for showers…” “Because this patient will no longer be able to go to the bathroom on her own, she WILL become incontinent, and harder to care for. She will delevop bedsores. This WILL hasten her disability and death.”

    i agree that is exactly what was recorded on a relative’s death certificate who was mobile, but tied up in a district hospital. she developed bedsores and within one year of being admitted there she was dead, because of bed sores…of course her relatives NEVER knew and were never told she had problems with bedsores


  40. ” of course her relatives never knew and were not told she had a problem with bed sores” but of course chocolate city hussle you knew. how amazing!


  41. This entire article is ridiculous as well as the people encouraginging it. First off as a Health professional i KNOW that no patient is retrained immediately upon admission as a “precaution” nor is every patient required to wear pampers! UTTER MADNESS. The “caregiver” asking the nurse what is served is ridiculous. As her rank suggests she is a NURSE not the kitchen help and even so, a diet is sent to the kitchen with respect to each patient and any food dislikes or allergies are noted on same and diet sent to ward for patient accordingly. Seeing cereal on a fridge top is a poor excuse. Please also ignore the idiot encouraging you to take pictures on your cell phone. It is illegal to take pictures of any kind in any public Health institution in barbados without prior consent of management of that institution and such acts are chargeable offences.
    3 house dresses and 2 nightgowns with slippers. I assume the aforementioned were there to be worn and seeing that no locker was available i assume that at least 1 nightie and a house dress would have been used since u never said when the plastic locker was provided. Unless u expected to keep your grandmother in the same clothes until such was provided. The black and blue marks on your grandmother were explained but i see in your article you failed to mention that she was aggressive and caused injury to a nurse in the process and that is why she was restrained. It amazes me how “she is new, she might want to walk off or give trouble so they restrained her to her bed by tying her hands and around her waist. While we understood…” is to you, a logical reason for said restraints. However, who am I to judge. This article is one sided (your side) and the other side and the truth is still missing. By the way, i wonder, if this grandmother is fully continent, of sound mind and ambulant why is she being admitted to the district hospital in the first place. NAB is there, dont pretend! Fake tears dont change de fact that she was probably trouble anuff for wunna to handle so wunna get she off wunna hands as fast as possible. I took care of my grandmother till she couldnt walk, was blind and incontinent. Only when she died did i not provide care for her!

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