A true story on abuse and neglect in a work enviroment
| It started out so simply. For years, I had this idea that I wanted to help others who were less fortunate. Finally, I landed a decent paying job in the health field.
I began working for the organization in October 1999. The shifts ran from 8am-4pm, 4pm-12am, and 12am-8am. There were supposed to be 2 or 3 staff members on the premises at all times looking after and taking care of the disabled residents. Their disabilities ranged from Downs Syndrome, to requiring feeding tubes, to birth defects, and anything in between.
Our tasks were not by any means simple, and we were basically responsible for the residents' well-being. I took my job seriously and made sure that I learned everything I needed to know and caught on quickly. After all, I would only take care of someone in the manner I would want to be taken care of.
After spending almost a year there, things started becoming clearer to me about different co-workers on previous shifts. Some things were not being accomplished correctly; some things were not accomplished at all.
I saw people make mistakes with medications and cover it up. We counted pills during every shift to make sure and many times found that there were too many pills or not enough pills. If you read the tracking sheets of the medications you could see that they would erase numbers and change them to meet their standards. What concerned me is that the director, assistant director, and everyone of higher working status knew and that they let the workers stay hired after it happened time and time again.
There were a few times that I recall a resident falling out of bed and other co-workers leaving them there as punishment because they had fallen out of the bed the night before. It sickened me! Who did these people think they were? The residents had numerous disabilities. Our job required us to assist and tend to them; never once did the job description say we had the right or the power to punish them.
Though I have never seen any physical altercations take place between a worker and a resident, I've heard of them. I have heard that different workers threw objects at the residents, pushed them, and called them foul names. I did not ever see anything like this happen during my shifts; however I do not doubt that situations like this have happened. Working on the inside has certainly made me aware that anything is possible.
One night the assistant director and I were relieved of our shift, so we packed up our things and started to head out. We ended up stopping at Eckerd's Drug Store and realized we had left something back at the resident's house.
When we arrived we could see directly in the bay window. Our co-workers were dancing and drinking with their boyfriends. We were in pure shock. We immediately phoned our director. We were stunned when he said he'd take care of it in the morning. Now, the residents still needed their medications and all sorts of assistance. He apparently thought it would be alright if these two drunk workers gave medications out. Is he not aware of what giving someone the wrong medication can do or that a possible overdose can occur?
Needless to say, we ended up relieving our co-workers of their shift and taking over without our director's consent. As we were finishing the shift our director came into work. He suspended us for a week without pay and wrote us up. I was thinking the entire time that our other co-workers would be getting into some serious trouble, or so I thought. They were quietly transferred to a different residential unit. Their transfer read that they "requested" to be transferred. I couldn't believe it! Our suspension was due to the fact that we were on the premises unauthorized.
I could no longer work for a place that clearly didn't have compassion or respect for the residents that we were hired to take care of. It blows my mind away how these people landed this job so easily. I searched for some time even after taking numerous courses. It saddens me to see the neglect and abuse that hides behind the walls of some institutions.
I know that the director was "quietly transferred" about six months after I had quit. From what I hear now, the residents are being taken care of and there is no longer any neglect or abuse happening. At least I pray that it's true.