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Nurses’ station renovations give staff needed privacy

April 2, 2012
by Kathleen Mears
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Pounding and sawing began at the rear of the building this past December. When I went to take a look, drywall was coming down and dust was flying. The frequently discussed nurses’ station renovations had begun, and I was eager to see the finished product.

The old station had been open with a chest-high counter, which made it difficult to see the nurses when they were sitting. That design made me wonder how much thought was given to residents in wheelchairs.

Renovations during the holidays made the noise and mess seem more noticeable. Before long, however, rough-hewn 2 x 4s were up. The bare wood was a change and looked comfortable. More time was devoted to installing the glass panels, which keep out noise and allow privacy for the nurses. But the glass casts a dark and ghoulish light on the inside of the station.

Light colored walls are between the wood supports. A barn style doorway leaves just enough room for the medicine carts to pass through. The other side has a sliding glass window where residents can ask questions or use the telephone. Residents are seldom inside the station, which was common in the past.

On the countertop there are two laptop computers. Above the work area there are two new flat screen monitors showing views from several surveillance cameras. The new workspace also looks more comfortable and functional.

One resident became concerned about the surveillance cameras, but he responded well to the explanation that they are for the safety of the residents. Personally, I think they are a great idea. I also think any improvement in the facility gives the residents hope for a safer, more homelike environment.

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Comments

I too am a wheelchair user. I am also a former resident of a nursing home having been there for rehab after a hip replacement. I also am a nurse and have been a state surveyor. I am now retired. I was very interested in the nurses station redo I have often complained about desk heights since I can't see over many areas and it makes me feel excluded or unneeded. I am an avid fan of your column and wonder if you know the impact you have on your readers. Thanks for speaking for those who can't or don't speak up

Kathleen Mears

www.ltlmagazine.com/blog/kathleen-mears

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