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Jack's quest for ice

August 10, 2015
by Kathleen Mears
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My mother always told me that if I was waiting with nothing to do, watching other people would keep me entertained. I see some interesting things when I follow that advice.

A couple of weeks ago after breakfast, a resident I will call Jack opened his door. With his water pitcher in one hand, hands behind his back, he began his sort of priestly, head down, slow walk toward the nurses' station. 

I knew Jack wanted ice. However, residents are not supposed to get it themselves. The ice cart is usually kept locked in the break room. Residents need staff to assist them with ice. Jack knew many of the staff are near the nurses' station after breakfast. The break room is just a couple of doors down the hall. Jack probably thought some kind staffer would help him since he almost met them at the ice cart.

As Jack approached the nurses' station, one of the aides distinctly said—as though she were making an announcement—"Ice will be passed at 9 o'clock. Ice will be passed at 9 o'clock". Jack heard what she said, stopped, never looked up, turned around and walked head down, back to his room. Jack's plan to get ice was dashed.

I realize the ice cart may have been empty. Also, some staff might feel pestered when residents ask them for ice. Although some residents wait until ice is passed; those who walk and can carry their own pitchers frequently go to nurses' station and are given ice.

The aide who made the 9 o'clock announcement may have thought it was funny to thwart Jack's effort before he reached his goal. But it looked to me like she prevented a proactive resident from assisting staff to meet his need.


Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...