Gone are the days when our hospitals were what many elderly citizens called a pure place to be when you were ill.
There are those who make remarks like the walls and floors were so clean in the hospitals years ago you could see yourself when walking by. What ever happened to the days when cleanliness was of so much importance?
Personally, I think the hospital employees had a greater pride in their hospital and respect for those they were caring for. The human values of those caring for the sick were so much more appreciated by the general public. You could place your family member in the care of medical professionals and go back home knowing they were going to get the best of care, and there was a great trust in your hospital and its medical team. We are puzzled today when we hear of so many people becoming very ill when in the hospital from a virus caused by some bacteria. Over 2,000 patients in the Quebec alone have died from the C Difficile Virus.
The general public at large is saying that the hospitals are very dirty. They have observed the dirt when they have taken their family members to the emergency departments, and more so when their family have been transferred to a floor to recover from an operation or awaiting treatment. They discover dirty bathrooms, dirty bathtubs, peeling paint, floors being washed with dirty mops and water, professionals wearing the same gloves from one patient to the other, and not washing their hands properly.
It was very common in hospitals to see nurses stripping a bed with the sheets full of urine, tossing the linen on the carpet floor. To make matters worse, they would not even wash the mattress after, and sometimes not until the patient was transferred or discharged. As one family member noted, "the mattresses were even cracked and full of urine." Imagine having a cracked mattress and not replacing it from one patient to the other for months.
We all know that carpets have caused sore backs for hospital workers, and not forgetting it was infested with germs for many years that administrations ignored, and many workers unknowingly became ill because of it. What harm did it do to those who were ill with other diseases?
We often wonder why all of a sudden there is so much more bacteria in our hospitals. Well, just focus on the day in the life of the hospital environment. How clean are the people who enter the hospital doors every day to work? Take the employees who travel to work in their uniforms every day. They travel by bus or trains that are contaminated with so much bacteria from the many germ infested carriers. There was a report from one of the hospitals in California that hospital workers were not permitted to wear at their jobs the same footwear they wore to work daily. The report also noted that many nurses and other employees wore the same footwear they wore when taking their dogs for an early morning walk. They also noted that mops used to wipe urine from the floors were not to be used to wash the floors of bathrooms and other patients' rooms. A lot of bacteria was spread by workers footwear and dirty mops used over and over and the water not changed regularly.
The hospital environment started to get dirty when the administration started to hire contractors to do the job. It was like a fly by night kind of work, and many were never orientated to the importance of cleanliness and the prevention of bacteria from spreading. This was when there was no control and hospital workers started to feel the brunt of who was responsible for doing what? The whole idea of "This is not my job" was heard throughout the corridors of most hospital wards, and down the drain went the good old days of great pride and teamwork. The administration stayed in their offices and visited the wards at Christmas time. They could depend on others hired from outside to do a better job than those we knew were doing an excellent job and were respectful, loving, and caring workers.
One time, we had so much trust in the people who cared for our families, and now it is rather scary to know that our hospitals are so dirty. Will it ever be safe?
We certainly have to take a better look at how clean are those who care for the people who are ill. We don't have to become obsessive compulsive about the dirt around us, but we can certainly study in detail what germs creep through the doors of our hospitals. The hospital workers have to speak up themselves as their own health is at risk. The fear of getting fired because you are concerned about your health and that of others is a real shame. The fact is someone has to take responsibility, as there is a real problem in our hospitals and senior homes in Canada, and death is knocking on too many loved ones' doors.
There is also too much needless suffering. Maybe too many tasks and not enough hands to do the dirty work burdens the dedicated workers. It's not that the workers are not doing their work. We have to get back to cleaning with soap and water and a bit of javex like the good old days.
The team of health professionals who tour the hospitals every couple of years to set accreditation standards is a real joke. It becomes a mad dash to get matters looking clean and organized before the scheduled visits, in order to get a stamp of approval to operate as a health care approved institution. Let's not be fooled as it happens in every hospital across Canada, and it is a must to follow the instructions of hospital administrators.
A week after receiving accreditation rights to continue operation, it's back to doing the same old routines, and in no time the bacteria is crawling all throughout the institutions.
Richmond Hill, Ont.
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