Neglect in the community

NB, I risk your opprobrium by posting reportage rather than poetry. I just feel the need to do so. The following happened on Friday.


Jenny’s only been in the nursing home for a week, out of place at a young-looking 66.

She hates it, yet would hate even more being sent home, back to her life of passive neglect at the hands of uncaring ‘care’ staff who whizz in and out as if afraid they might catch something if they engaged in conversation. Some neglected to change her, or wash her, leaving it for the next carer to do at the next visit hours later, or the following day. Her house became filthy.

“Some look at you as if you’re making it up. They say, ‘come on, you’re not trying’ as I struggle in pain to get myself into bed or out of the chair. It was awful, you feel so lonely.”

Jenny sobs. I struggle too.

“There was one, she was lovely, who tried to help me but she would burst into tears. We’d both be in tears ‘cos she hadn’t time to make me a drink and get me into bed on her own. So I ended up sleeping in a chair. That’s how I got the pressure sores.”

In the end, Jenny collapsed and spent over four months ‘blocking’ an expensive hospital bed. She should be in her own home, surrounded by her photos and ornaments and able to at least have a go at the things she enjoys, reading, painting; not sitting in a room full of people at least 15 years her senior, most confused, one screaming, the TV, like the rest of world, carrying on regardless.

As I leave I see the nurse/manager writing up notes in his office, the call bell from a patient buzzing away behind him. I watch for several minutes until he notices me, smiles and gets up to answer the call.

There’s nothing wrong with it as ‘homes’ go, but YOU wouldn’t want to go there. Jenny doesn’t want to be there either, but considers herself lucky to have escaped the horrors at the hands of the home-carers.

◄ The Lingerers' Renga

How do I love thee? ►


<Deleted User> (8730)

Wed 29th Jun 2011 11:25

I understand the sentiments. It is asad. I was in a mental hospital rehabilitation home for 12 months. Mst of the staff couldn't care about anything but their tea break and talking about their holidays.

Profile image

John Embley

Mon 27th Jun 2011 23:56

Christ - it makes you wonder what's happened in the world -- everybody should rage against this death of empathy, and responsibility for the care of those who gave us what we have, and above all, the horrible lack of well-deserved respect -- something missing from society in general.
PS - I'm only a year or so younger than Jenny, and I was slammed in a 'geriatric' ward after an illness a few years ago -- I know what she must be feeling.
Correction -- I can sense a little of what Jenny must be feeling -- I think I am much more fortunate than she is, thank God.
And you're right, Dave -- bloody Tories never listen unless you're talking their language -- money, savings thereof, for the benefit of their supporters.

Profile image

Greg Freeman

Mon 27th Jun 2011 21:46

It can be a nightmare world. My mother is happy in her care home, and receives pretty good care, thank goodness. At a price, of course. I hear what you're saying, Dave, but I don't think any political party has come up with an answer to all this.

Profile image

Andy N

Sun 26th Jun 2011 20:32

terrible story, julian but well said.. i agree with dave here totally..

Profile image

Dave Bradley

Sun 26th Jun 2011 20:21

Trouble is the Tories won't be reading this and aren't listening

Profile image

Ann Foxglove

Sun 26th Jun 2011 20:08

An unbearable situation. Well said Julian - and good luck Jenny.x

If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message