I AM writing as a retired registered nurse and was very interested to read of your headline report on assaults on nurses and carers (‘Slapped and kicked’, County Gazette, April 13).
Most of my work was in the context of the NHS.
However, I did also spend five years working within the private nursing homes sector: and I can tell you that the non-registered carers in the private sector have a much harder time, than those working within the NHS.
Your anonymous nurse cited, as blameless, “patients with dementia and mental health problems”, but also of being “confronted by family members a few times, with one man getting right up in my face to shout at me”.
Such people are culpable for their behaviour.
We have seen reports of relatives having covert cameras placed in their relatives’ rooms in care homes.
Of course, cameras placed in rooms may be used to weed out people who ought not to be in the care industry at all, but they may not be used, reciprocally, to provide evidence of assault on a carer or nurse, for the reasons stated in your article.
Dementia may be involved.
My own experience is that carers are far more likely to be assaulted by their elderly confused, or demented, ‘service-users’ (ghastly politically-correct term!), or their bullying relatives, than the other way around.
And, whenever a carer came to me to report such an incident, I always checked the aggressor’s finger-nails, as, even, a scratch could lead to a very nasty infection.
In the same edition, there was also a report on the initiative of Notaro Homes to provide a training package for non-UK nurses, seeking to obtain UK-registration with the NMC.
Such initiatives are bound to occur, as the sheer numbers of advertisements for ‘recruitment’ in all of our nursing homes testifies to a severe problem of recruitment and retention of staff.
It can be, after all, very unpleasant work. But, once that UK-registration is secured, I wonder how many will remain, and how many will gravitate to acute care within the NHS?