Am I asking too much of care home staff?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by scattysue, Jun 23, 2019.

  1. scattysue

    scattysue Registered User

    Aug 20, 2015
    65
    My sister has been resident in a dementia nursing home since September 2018 and has settled well in most respects. One area continues to cause me concern and I appear to be at a loss as to how to resolve the problem.
    K hides her used underwear in a drawer - she seems to be embarrassed to allow these items to be sent to the laundry although she is happy to have her outer garments laundered regularly. I have discussed the matter with the unit manager on several occasions and she tells me that nightstaff remove K's used underwear at bedtime and lay out fresh garments for the next day but I still find caches of used underwear in the drawer when I visit (once a week because of the distance I have to travel).
    It seems to me that this problem could be solved by staff checking the drawer on a regular basis (it is always the same drawer K puts the soiled underwear in), but although I have suggested this several times it is never done.
    Am I asking too much of the staff? I don't feel I am but would be glad of other opinions on the matter or suggestions of other solutions to the problem. Many thanks
     
  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    68,896
    Kent
    I don`t think you are asking too much of the staff @scattysue. This is a hygiene and health and safety issue. Worn underwear even if not soiled cannot be healthy to be allowed to pile up in a drawer.

    If the staff cannot be relied upon to remember, do you think it would be possible for your sister to have a small laundry basket in her room? Is this what she may have been used to using at home?
    It might be one way to solve the problem especially if you have no other complaints.
     
  3. love.dad.but..

    love.dad.but.. Registered User

    Jan 16, 2014
    4,362
    Kent
    I think the same, if the drawer isn't checked on a daily basis the smell will become a problem and a health and hygiene issue if K is tempted to handle the soiled underwear or put it back on.

    I think I would speak to the manager and express the above concerns and suggest that perhaps a bin bag could line the drawer..it is fortunate and easy to deal with if the same drawer...and that staff are instructed to lift the liner bag out each morning/night when personal care is given so the contents can be sent to laundry. Supply a load of cheap bin. liners if necessary. Staff are being a bit lazy in not looking for the underwear which they must know is not appearing in laundry.
     
  4. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    1,327
    Female
    If the underwear is soiled and therefore represents a hygiene issue then the staff should deal with it.
    If it isn't soiled and the fact it's left there is just a bit of an annoyance I wouldn't worry about it.
     
  5. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,635
    Female
    South coast
    Laundry is often the weakest link in a care home.

    Mum had a laundry bin in her room, but would often put her dirty clothes back in the cupboard and drawers. I used to go in and check her room, turfing out all the dirty clothes and stuff that didnt belong to her. Underwear frequently went missing never to be seen again - I suspect that she used to flush soiled underwear down the loo.

    If the clothing is actually soiled (as opposed to just worn and dirty) then I think @love.dad.but.. s solution of putting a bin liner in the drawer and not putting any clean clothes in there so that carers only have to lift out the bin bag is a good one.

    If you need to do this, have a word with the manager so that it goes in her care plan and all the carers know to do it.
     
  6. TNJJ

    TNJJ Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    38
    Does she not have a key worker?That person is responsible for making sure that items are clean and tidy and that she has enough clothes etc.Also enough shampoo etc.Im aware that not all homes use the key worker system though.
     
  7. TNJJ

    TNJJ Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    38
    Does she not have a key worker?That person is responsible for making sure that items are clean and tidy and that she has enough clothes etc.Also enough shampoo etc.Im aware that not all homes use the key worker system though.
     
  8. scattysue

    scattysue Registered User

    Aug 20, 2015
    65
    Many thanks to all who replied - I found your responses encouraging and helpful.

    I did suggest, a few months ago, that a small laundry bin be placed in K's room (when she was at home she placed her used/soiled underwear straight into the washing machine, so I thought the bin might help) however although the unit manager agreed initially, the suggestion was not acted upon and when I asked about it I was told that staff preferred to take the underwear each evening. This seemed acceptable to me at the time but is not dealing with the situation - for whatever reason although the staff still claim they are removing the items each evening, there is still a build up of used and sometimes soiled underwear in the drawer and apparently no-one is noticing.

    I am very happy with the care K receives in the home and I feel I have a good relationship with staff but I don't feel this particular issue is being addressed. I will speak again to the unit manager when I visit on Friday and see if a solution can be found - I will also ask that something is recorded on K's care plan so that all staff are aware of the situation. If the matter remains unresolved I will ask to speak to the manager of the home.

    Re the existence of a key worker for K, I have not been made aware of the existence of such a person, but I will ask.

    Once again, my thanks to those who responded - I appreciate your help.
     

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