Category Archives: Australia

EXPIRY DATE

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There comes a time when you have to think about putting your loved one into an aged care facility. This decision is not to be taken lightly. I have been asked numerous times to advocate for a ‘Good Nursing Home’  sorry I cannot do that. I can only say I am not completely happy with any aged care facility I have ever worked in and I’ve been working in aged care for approximately 20 years.

When I began working in aged care, things were so different. If I managed to get a tea break, I would go to the staff room to make a coffee and sitting in that staff room were carers and Enrolled nurses who would all be discussing the care of the residents. These wonderful people (miss them terribly) knew everything about their residents. Off the top of their heads they could give you the run down on their likes and dislikes, allergies, at risk behaviours etc. They would discuss new ways to help their residents. for instance if an elderly person was having trouble with dressing, eating, showering, they would put their heads together to come up with new and inventive ways to address the situation, approach the Registered Nurse with this idea and we would work on it together. From there, it would be taken to an allied health specialist such as Physiotherapist, doctor, nutritionist etc and the life of the resident would be made so much better. These brilliant carers knew about equipment which would make their jobs easier and using it on the resident to make it safer. Safety was a big issue and they understood it and complied with regulations.

Those were the good old days.

Now, walking into a staff room all you see are staff sitting around the tables talking to their friends and relatives overseas. Ask any one of them about a resident and you get an answer like this, ‘Look at the notes’ ‘Look at the care Plan’ or ‘I don’t know’ They have absolutely no idea or any intention of understanding the care of the elderly they are there to care for. Even if the resident had been there for a number of years. They weren’t interested. To the carers these days, it’s just a job and to get through it as fast as possible so they can go home. Now don’t get me wrong. There are a few excellent carers working in aged care facilities. They are the ones who do care. They do their jobs well and will even stay behind to finish doing what they need to do to make it easier for the next shift and to ensure the resident is left the way they are supposed to be left. Clean, well fed, in no pain, comfortable and any issues they have spotted reported to the RN.

If the RN needs to know anything about a resident now, we need to go into the shower to examine the resident ourselves. We are checking for fragile, dry skin. Skin tears, toenail and fingernail length, pressure areas, we check their ears and eyes, nose and a lot more. Ask a carer now and I doubt if they even know who they just showered.

This might sound like I’m bagging carers but it’s the way things are now. Aged Care Facilities cannot run without money, and to make a profit they need to have the least number of staff on the floor at any one time. If there is 35 residents there will be 4 long shift carers for the entire shift and a few short shift carers. The short shift carers are there to help with the showering and meals. They go home early. Meanwhile the long shift carers will remain to assist with toileting after lunch and helping the residents with lunch. They will do a ’round’ which is to check continence pads and to toilet other residents who are able to go to the toilet but just need some assistance. There is no time to sit and talk to a resident. To ask them how they feel or do any little minor thing the resident would like.

Every time I see a commercial showing how wonderful an aged care facility is and how splendid the smiling, cheery staff are I seriously want to barf.. What a load of rubbish.

To see the picture clearly, you need to go there and see staff running their legs off, Sweating under the strain on heavy lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling and count how long each staff member has to attend each resident. I did a count once and it was frightening.

Read my next post for the breakdown.

Aged care facilities are not designed for the happiness of residents, they are there to make money. Full stop. Now I know this is going to sound really disgusting but I was at a facility one day and I asked where all the usual carers were and was told, “They are having an inspection and they only want to see white faces here” I nearly fainted. How racist and bigoted can anyone be??? I wondered who was coming and what sort of people they were to  say this..  If I had called the media over this, there would have been hell to pay. But as I have said before. Nobody wants to know. And it would have been difficult to prove.

I sort of feel fortunate working as an Agency Registered Nurse at times because we get to move around from facility to facility and we see it all.

Every Aged Care Facility has at their front door a charter of rights and responsibilities. These points are a legal requirement and they need to provide evidence to show it. To prove this, they have reams and reams of paperwork and documentation and the staff are required to fill out all documentation to show they are doing the right thing. Ha!

Aged Care Facilities also have people (Accreditation Team) come to check on all their paperwork to make sure this ‘Evidence Based Practice’ is being adhered to. (Stop laughing)  I was hired to do an afternoon shift one day and when I arrived, I saw 4 RNs sitting in the Nurses Office completing forms and filling out papers ready for the inspection. They were even signing medication charts where there were many, many signature omissions. Some signatures were from other Agency Registered and Enrolled nurses from months previous. But as long as the tiny little square had a squiggle in it, it was ok.  All care plans had to be updated with the correct information included which should have been done on admission. If and when the facility passes all their ‘standards’ they whoop whoop for days after and throw a celebration. This is a very serious issue. To not pass ‘Accreditation’ is the worst thing for all staff, the residents and the facility not to mention the boss who runs the facility. It doesn’t reflect well on any of them.. The Government will impose sanctions on the facility to prevent them from taking in any more residents until they meet the ‘Standards of Accreditation.’ The facility will only be allowed to have a certain number of residents. Cuts to funding is taken very seriously.

The one thing you need to make sure of if you put your family member in an Aged Care Facility is to be there on admission and make sure they have all the information on your relative/friend. The admission form is paramount to ensuring staff know who is responsible for having the say over financial matters, who makes decisions regarding their health and welfare, are there any toxic relations between family members which could impact on the health and happiness of your family member. Allergies, every aspect of daily living is included and should be addressed. Do they have a funeral organised and with whom? What are the details? Burial or cremation? Who is the funeral Director? Sleeping times, food likes and dislikes, clothing requirements, continence. Do they use continence aids? Do they have enough clothes and shoes? Are they labelled oh and please remember to label their dentures and spectacles. There’s nothing worse than removing dentures or spectacles to find out your family member has been wearing someone elses. Do they have an ‘End of Life’ care form completed? Don’t leave until it’s done. It will save you so much time and make it a bit easier for staff in the case of a death or an emergency. Do they have any old injuries? Do they have pain? There is so much but it must be included. The admitting nurse needs to get baseline readings. This is Blood pressure, temperature, pulse, weight, height, urinalysis and a whole lot more. So if the resident has any health episode the Nurse has the baseline to go by. Any differences will show us there is something wrong. There is a change in their health status and it needs to be investigated further.

Read my next post for the times given for each resident attendance.

 

 

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Expiry Date

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It was just after dinner and I was almost done with the dinner time medication round. I only had about 12 more people to give medications to and my medication trolley was in the corridor. Out of the corner of my eye I saw two of my carers running toward me. I stopped and looked at their faces. Now something like this is hard to describe and document because I think they were in shock and they were so excited and talking so fast.

I didn’t have time to ask them what was wrong. They burst into a chorus of “Marilyn come here quick.” I parked my trolley in a side room, locked the door and ran. At this time I was thinking there might have been an intruder or a fire.

As I entered the room the two carers were standing either side of a female resident’s bed. One of the carers pulled the bed linen off the elderly woman, and I must say, extremely frail woman only to show me her leg was broken. My mind raced to discover what had happened and how but knowing this elderly lady was a bit restless in her bed and constantly stuck her legs through the bedrails, I felt a surge of vomit in my throat when I realised what had happened.

The break was over the shin and it had a distinctive mark across the thin layer of skin.

Her leg was straight until it got past the knee and to the shin and that is where it turned inwards.  We looked at this broken bone and discovered it had been broken when someone had tried to let down the bed rail and had met some resistance. The bed rail would have then been pushed down very hard which crushed her leg. The perpetrator of this would have then placed her broken leg back into the bed and covered her up and left her.They left her. Left her in agonizing pain. Unable to voice her pain. Unable to do anything about it.

Immediately the Ambulance was called to transfer the poor woman to Hospital, notes were written, plus the mandatory reports. (Lots of them)

Before the woman was transferred to Hospital, I measured the red mark on her shin and compared the width of the top of the bed rail. Exactly the same width. I couldn’t imagine how anyone could do this to a frail and elderly person, then cover them up and leave them to suffer. This would have been excruciatingly painful. She would have been left like that for approximately 4 and a half hours and until the next shift came on and did a ’round.’  A round is where the carers go around to each and every resident and ask them if they would like to go to the toilet and if they were not able to verbalize, they would assist them to the toilet. Otherwise they would be in a continence pad and that would have to be checked.

This poor woman was the last on the list of people to check the pad and so it would have been about 2 pm the staff would have been to her room to check on her continence needs.

There was also a chart to tell who worked where and it didn’t take us long to work out who was responsible. I will tell you know though. After the report I made, I had a complaint made against me to my Agency which sounded something like this

“We don’t want Marilyn G back here again” “She keeps leaving us notes”  Leaving them notes?  Ha!  They couldn’t get rid of my notes because they are a legal document and if these reports I wrote were requested by ‘Freedom Of Information’ the family of this woman would have taken legal action.. I’m glad I wrote personal reports and photocopied incident reports. I have a very large box full of them.

This is not the last report I will write about the Health Care system. Keep your eye out. And if it makes you feel a bit queezey just imagine how it made me and others feel when it happened.I started Nursing 1995 as an RN and just flowed into Aged Care where I remained for nearly 20 years. The work is hard especially if you do the work and the pay isn’t much to sing about but it was very challenging..

The latest news about the abuse of the elderly man in the aged care facility was shown on channel 9 25/7/2016.  I have worked in this facility and never enjoyed it because there was a problem with some belligerent staff. Another facility I will never work in again.

Having cameras in resident’s rooms is a great idea but it infringes on their resident’s privacy and dignity. I don’t think it will ever be tolerated. The public are up in arms now over an incident relating to a young male carer who abused an elderly gentleman in an aged care facility. Sorry to say it but I have seen worse.

I haven’t been supported by the aged care facility or the Agency I worked for when making these complaints to the managers of these said facilities. They just don’t want to know about it and while they are raking in the money, they don’t give a hoot. Many times I’ve told family members to install  a secret camera in the room to catch the abusive staff members.

Carers take these jobs in Nursing homes because that is the only job they can get at the time and Centrelink encourage them to take it. Even if they are not suitable for the position.

Attitude play a big role in caring for elderly people. Staff cannot afford not to treat these people any other way but with respect and give them the dignity they deserve.

Channel 9 News asked for a comment from the ‘Council for the Ageing” and we hear there is a 5% to 10 % abuse incident rate. Well, lady. To that I say bull! I know it is more than double that.

Overall, I blame the Government for the compete lack of care in any and all Aged Care Facilities. Money is what drives them. Cheap labour. Hiring staff who cannot speak English and who give medications which cause damage to resident’s health.

When they have a Plebiscite on ‘Assisted Suicide” I will sign it and say yes please. I refuse to go into an Aged Care Facility.

GRASS, and it’s not just for the cows.

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Have you ever considered the health benefits of wheat grass?

It’s really good for you and so easy to grow in your own home.

‘It’s called a “Living Food”, very rich in vitamin E, chlorophyll and lots of other nutrients but what I love about it is it cleanses the blood, rejuvenates the body and increases resistance to disease. As a tonic, it helps to treat conditions such as fatigue, anaemia, toxaemia, and cancerous growths.’ Wow, they are pretty powerful statements aren’t they but we all know a healthy diet is very beneficial to us in preventing a lot of health problems.

‘Wheat grass juice is a powerful detoxifying agent. It helps to increase the enzyme level in the body cells aiding the rejuvenation of the body and the digestion of nutrients.’

‘It’s best taken on an empty stomach, starting at about 30mg a day and increasing the dose to about 125 mg per day.’

I like to have it raw on a salad . It only takes approximately one week of growth to have the wheat grass ready to eat.

Need.  Small flat bottom, clear container. The sun needs to be able to get through to the wheat.

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Bag of good quality wheat grains.

Paper towel. Water.

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In the bottom of a clear plastic or glass container put two layers of paper towel. This will hold the water for the wheat to get its fluid. Don’t let it get too dry. I spray mine each day with water in a spray bottle.

Put wheat in a strainer and rinse it under cold water to remove any mould spores/dust and spread it over the wet paper towel.

Spread the clean wheat grains over the paper towel. Don’t put it on too thick as it will be too crowded and won’t grow too well. (Not more than two grains high)

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Place the container near a window to get some light and keeping the grains nice and damp will give you a good crop in 7 days. You can cut off what you need, rinse it and eat it in a sandwich or make a juice. It will keep growing. I use mine for three weeks and after two weeks I get another batch going.

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Cheers

The Complete Guide to Nutrients. Dr. Michael Sharon

http://www.marilynsplanforweightloss.com.au

Pith off or pith on? You choose/

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Remember watching a movie and seeing the hero trudging through the jungle wearing a safari suit and a Pith Helmet? They called the hat a pith helmet because it looked like the white part of an orange.
Interesting facts about Vitamin C and oranges.
The pith is a rich source of Pectin which lowers cholesterol and flavonoids which benefits weak gums, capillaries and blood vessels. So when you peel an orange, don’t remove all of the white part. The oil from the orange peel can relieve flatulence too.
If you feel the wind coming on grate some orange peel and eat a little.

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Smokers need more Vitamin C. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant ie: In the lungs. It protects the lungs from bad air and cigarette smoke. It also protects white blood cells as well as reducing Cancer causing agents, (Nitrites) found in cured and processed meats.

It also enhances the absorption of Iron. If you’re a little low in iron stores, have some vitamin C with your meaty meal. If you suffer from Hemochromatosis you will need to work with your doctor on this because Hemochromatosis is a condition where you have too much iron in your body which can cause iron toxicity which will lead to damaged tissues and a heart attack.
See your doctor anyway if you have any concerns about your health. It’s better to see the doctor now than to leave it until it’s an emergency and everyone has to work twice as hard to save your life..
Heat and oxygen destroys vitamin C.

Vitamin C supplements can cause nausea, nosebleeds, abdominal cramp, and diarrhoea.
Vitamin C deficiency can cause swollen ankles, loose teeth, weakness, wounds which don’t heal, bone pain, fractures, diarrhoea, bleeding gums and depression. In a poopy mood? Eat an orange.

IMG_0676I can’t say enough about the good old, inexpensive orange and its benefits and at least one of these beauties should be consumed each and every day. Stop and think for a minute. When was the last time you ate an orange or other food rich in vitamin C? I’ve mentioned scurvy, synthesizing collagen, bone, teeth, skin, tendons and blood vessels. Deficiency causes your teeth to fall out. Eeewwwww
Did you know, most animals can make their own vitamin C from glucose? Humans, guinea pigs, bats and some birds need it in their diet.

That’s it for the good old orange…
http://www.marilynsplanforweightloss.com.au
Marilyn xxx

What do we know about Oranges?

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Ahhh, The good old orange and what do we know about it?
Oranges have been grown and consumed for over 4,000 years and they are chock-a-block full of vitamin ‘C’. Now we all know Vitamin C is good for warding off colds etc. Well, they are also great for boosting the immune system too.
But, did you know, oranges do lose their potency if left on the shelf for too long?
Vitamin C deficiency has been noted as far back as 420 BC. Seaman suffered from scurvy due to Vit C deficiency. Stories of seagoing people on long voyages where the fresh fruit could not be kept were given the juice from growing Mung Beans.
The vitamin C content is not as potent as if it were taken fresh off the tree and eaten there and then. A fresh orange has a strong flavour and it should taste like an orange should.
The first thing I do at the orange stand is to smell the oranges, Then I check the little green end to see if it is nice and green and plump. Some oranges even smell mouldy. Don’t buy them.
The next time you go to the store to buy oranges, check the little green bit at the end of the orange and see if it is moist, green and soft to touch. If it’s dry, crusty, has some grey areas and or mould then walk away.. It’s probably been in cold storage for years.. Why am I telling you this? I’ve been studying food and it’s benefits for years and trying to work out the best and most fresh foods to consume for optimal health and vitality.
If fresh is not available and you want and need oranges, have a look at the cartons of juice. I’m not a fan of them because I don’t know how long they have been in storage but I do know to read the label and see if it is made from fresh oranges and picked recently or if it is orange concentrate.
I don’t buy it if it’s packaged in plastic (or anything else for that matter). Hate plastic.
Oranges have a high concentrate of vitamin C. There are some other fruits which have as much but they are very expensive too. Strawberries for instance have a high Vit C count but not as much as the orange. If fruit is a problem for you then Red peppers will do the trick in the vitamin C department.
Vitamin C
Oranges ½ cup 96 mg
Red peppers (bell) ½ cup 95 mg
Strawberries ½ cup 42 mg
So you can see how much cheaper it is to eat a good old orange as opposed to a few punnets of strawberries per week. Red (Bell) peppers are great cooked or eaten raw in a salad so you can up the dose of Vitamin C.
Vitamin A (IU) = International Units.
Oranges           ½ cup 369 IU
Red Peppers    ½ cup 316 IU
Strawberries    ½ cup 21 IU
Vitamin C is also needed to synthesise Collagen which helps to maintain Muscles, tendons, arteries, bone and skin. (Good for your face too).
It’s required to produce Carnitine and decreased levels cause muscle weakness and fatigue.
Vitamin deficiency leads to poor wound healing, weakness, fatigue, bleeding gums, skin hemorrhage (scurvy).
Too much Vitamin C leads to diarrhoea, increased kidney stones (especially if you eat a lot of spinach and not enough water to flush out the kidneys. Kidney stones and or gravel can block up your kidney tubes and cause the most agonising pain, sending you to hospital for surgery to remove them.
We even use Orange Oil for our general cleaning. It has antimicrobial properties and is a wonderful cleaner.
I could babble on about oranges forever but I think you get the picture.
Marilyn xxx

http://www.marilynsplanforweightloss.com.au

References
Food The Chemistry of its Components. Tom Coultate 5th ed. 2009
The complete book of Vitamin and Mineral Counts. C.T. Netzer 1997
The Complete Guide to Nutrients Dr. M. Sharon 2009
Oxford Book of Nutrition Gandy, Madden, Holdsworth 2012

Will you feel gulity after eating your Christmas fare? I won’t..

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We usually have all the ‘ringins’ here for Christmas lunch.. Ringins are an Aussie slang term for everyone who has nowhere else to go.. In Laws etc.. But mostly family and close friends.. Anyway. Yes we do it all. The lovely roast turkey, chicken duck, lamb and beef.. Not to forget the gorgeous roast vegetables, cauliflower and broccoli in cheese sauce etc…

Oh yum, I can hardly wait.. It used to be a real nightmare when I carried the extra weight. Christmas lunch would add kilos to my bum so fast, it was horrible.. I still loved the food though and would consequently feel guilty for a week after.. Then to punish myself I would exercise like crazy trying to get rid of it.. No go..

There are so many of you poor darlings out there who are in the same boat. Today I rang a lovely lady in Melbourne to give her a pep talk to get her started. I made it so simple for her. She read my book once and was so eager to begin. I gave her a few pointers on how to begin very, very simply.. Now she’s off like a rocket.. Good for her..  My book is so darned exciting and the Plan is so good, if you follow it, you will be like a fast train screaming down the track. Good honest weight loss.. None of this just losing fluid to begin. Yes you will do that, but the Plan is also about cleansing your body and the weight loss too.. woohoo.. Don’t leave it for too long before you get the book and begin the journey of a lifetime. It’s something you will have for life.

You might also think we are so careful with our food, weighing and measuring but we don’t do that at all. My Plan has nothing to do with cutting out foods or weighing and measuring.. Bugger that.. Life’s too short to punish yourself. Life is meant to be enjoyed. I haven’t enjoyed my life as much as I have the last 8 years being on this amazing Plan.

http://www.marilynsplanforweightloss.com.au

I will rave about this for the rest of my life because I believe in it.

Merry Christmas to you all and a safe and happy New Year.

Marilyn xxx

 

Welcome.. It all starts here

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Now I have my brand new website up and running and I’m really excited about being able to blog and give you lots of things to read about and think about. There might just be a challenge or two to offer as well, so enjoy..

Oranges…  mmmm don’t you just love them?

Big bag of oranges

Big bag of oranges

Fresh, sweet and juicy..  Fruit and vegetables have a shelf life and after they are picked it doesn’t take long for them to lose their potency.. They die a slow death…

To show this, I squeezed the juice from 4 oranges which were bought from a local fruit and vegetable stand around the corner from where we live. These were the last oranges and were just over a week old and their taste was different from a really fresh orange. They were just sweet and that’s all. There was no tang at all and that is what you should expect from a fresh orange.

Juice from 4 old oranges

Juice from 4 old oranges

I drank the juice from the four oranges and waited.. The next day, nothing happened.  Hmmmm but not unusual. I didn’t expect to have to run to the toilet after that because I know how fresh fruit affects the body..

I waited a week and bought more fresh oranges but this time I squeezed the juice from two oranges and drank it.. More like guzzled it.. It was lovely..  The next morning, I had to run to the toilet because of the potency.

Juice from 2 fresh oranges

Juice from 2 fresh oranges

Yep. It didn’t last though. I haven’t had a good flush out for ages but it just goes to show you how we should be aware of the quality and freshness of the fruit we eat..  So next time you buy fruit, make sure you are going to eat it within 3 days of purchase. Otherwise you are just wasting your money, time and effort… There’s nothing healthy about eating old food..

I will always advocate for fresh foods too.  The vitamin content of oranges is the best way to get your vitamins and not from tablets. Medicinal vitamin C should only ever be ingested at the request of your doctor.. They can also cause kidney stones too so remember..  Fresh is best.. Yum.. The taste of a fresh orange makes me drool…

Marilyn xxx