End of the Line
Inside Canada's Nursing Homes
Publisher: James Lorimer & Company, Canada
Year Published: 1989
Pages: 238pp Price: 16.95 ISBN: ISBN 1-55028-290-5
Resource Type: Book
Cx Number: CX4135
An account of the grim reality of life in nursing homes. Sketches of nursing-home residents, their families, and nursing-home staff, reveal a generation suffering neglect and abuse, stripped of self-respect, confined to dangerous, dirty, depressing and de-personalized institutions.
Abstract: End of the Line is a well-written, emotionally taxing account of the grim reality of life in nursing homes. Sketches of nursing-home residents, their families, and nursing-home staff, reveal a generation suffering neglect and abuse, stripped of self-respect, confined to "dangerous, dirty, depressing and de-personalized" nursing homes.
A good example of the abuse in the system is the misadministration of medication. Over-rushed and understaffed, the nurses will use medication -- without the consent of a physician -- to subdue active residents "instead of holding their hands for a few minutes, or talking with them." "Nurses create 'elderly zombies who no longer have a personality of their own'. What's more, residents will occasionally be given the wrong medicine, a "med error": "Med errors probably happen every day. Documented med errors happen four of five times a week. That's when a nurse has actually gone and said, 'I gave this in error.'" As a result, some people may get drugs that are contra-indicated, epileptics may not get their anti-seizure medicine, and as one nurse admits, "I know lots of times when people don't get their antibiotics when they have an infection."'
Bohuslawsky, the journalist-author currently with the Ottawa Citizen, investigates all angles of the issue, profiling the residents, reporting on the profit-seekers who operate the homes, and visiting the dedicated, caring people who are trying to improve the system. The book ends with a positive chapter suggesting possible alternatives to institutionalization.
[Abstract by Ulli Diemer]