An elderly woman said to me recently that she wore incontinence pads because it was easier for the nurses.
She needed to be hoisted in and out of bed so had to ask two nurses to use the hoist to put her on the commode or toilet. However, she said that she did know at least half of the time that she needed to use the toilet so with support and reassurance from the nurses could have maintained her dignity by using a commode or toilet.
Patients who are in hospital for a long time or who are being cared for in a nursing home can lose sight of their rights as an individual as part of being institutionalised. They start to put the nurses before themselves and try to do what they think the nurses find easier. Maybe it’s in some way like a prisoner trying to please their captors. And who wants to be unpopular with the people you depend on!
Ward and nursing home routines can rob the individual patient of their autonomy. However, nurses can try and find flexibility where they can to allow and encourage the patient to be an individual. If a patient likes to stay up late watching TV, nurses can position and settle them later rather than doing so just because the clock says that it is time.
Patients who have previously been independent do find it hard to accept that they need assistance and have to ask for help. Reassurance from nurses, that the assistance they offer is their job and that the patient is entitled to it, will need to be offered regularly. Nurse can help patients find their way by treating every patient differently because let’s face it, they are.