Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Can Words Force Covid-19 Nursing Home Action? Right To Die With Dignity – Right To Work With Dignity

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The direct testimony below broadcasts the horrible reality of nursing homes. The political establishment sugar-coats the phenomenon. This helps the owners to financially, socially, and politically benefit from a sick system.
I saw my mother waste away for three years in a nursing home, and chose to see the reality. It is an an approach that focuses us on the need to fight for better alternatives for us all in the very near future.

We need a system where we all have the right to die with dignity. Workers in these institutions have a right to live with dignity. These two principles go hand in hand.

The source is the Facebook Page of Honor Heffernan – a nursing home worker courageously offers direct testimony – we must support and encourage others to do likewise – it is the only effective way to confront and solve this crisis. In Ireland “Right to Die With Dignity” Legislation is very long overdue – it is now an overdue emergency. – John Meehan

I got a call from the owner of a nursing home this week desperate and crying. All of her permanent staff were sick or in isolation and the agencies had no nurses available.

I arrived on Friday morning- supposed to be the 2nd nurse with 5 HCAs to support 24 residents. Instead what transpired was I was the only nurse with 3 HCAs as the other agency staff failed to show.

I had never been in this home before, so I didnt know the residents or how to navigate around the home.

The author continues :

Handover included the following;

  • 2 confirmed Covid patients
  • 2 palliative patients (suspected Covid but not meeting the current algorithm for testing)
  • 3 diabetic patients
  • 17 other residents (?? Covid)
  • 1 oxygen cylinder

– No fluids

In the space of 48 hours;

  • I was told that my sick sick residents were not going to be accepted to the hospital
  • I had to establish the resuscitation status on a number of residents that I was worried about,
  • I had to call the time of death on two residents within a 20 minute period.
  • I had to call the GP and inform them that two of their patients had sadly passed away and that a further 2 were likely in the next 24 hours.
  • I had to call the coroner and ask for 2 residents to be taken from their home at the same time
  • I had to break the news to two different families that their loved ones had lost their fight and that they could not come and say goodbye.

Most of the other residents currently in the home are pleasantly confused, and as a result they do not grasp what is happening- we cannot lock them in their rooms nor do we have enough staff to special them. This means that all the residents are at risk and will likely get Infected.

There are no words to describe the situation in the homes. It is only a matter of time before all of the residents get it and then it will be survival of the fittest due to the limited supplies, staffing and equipment.

Keep the residents in homes in your prayers over the next few weeks and keep those candles lighting. This battle is only just beginning #covidnurse @ Dublin, Ireland

Listen to the Workers

Listen to the Opponents of Neoliberalism : Julien Mercille Warned in 2017 :

The usefulness of neoliberalism as a theoretical concept in health research has been debated. This paper argues that when the concept of neoliberalism is used precisely and concretely, it provides an important and valid framework to analyse how health systems have been transformed over the last several decades. This claim is illustrated through the case of the Irish nursing home sector, which, over the last 20 years, has been turned upside down: from a mostly public system, it has been restructured into a mostly private, for-profit one. Privatisation, a quintessential neoliberal outcome, is analysed in detail. It was fostered by several neoliberal policies and has benefitted Irish (and to some extent global) economic elites. Tax incentives for private home operators and government budgetary constraints have limited state involvement in service provision and supported the expansion of the private sector. Private home staff are subject to more ‘flexible’ working conditions, which benefits employers. Moreover, the government plans to build new public nursing homes via public–private partnerships, which amount to privatisation. Also, global nursing home chains have begun to enter the Irish market, which offers profitable opportunities to international investors. However, international research shows that quality of care tends to be lower in private homes, due to cost cutting to increase profits.

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