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An unanswered call light

June 15, 2015
by Kathleen Mears
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One afternoon when I was in bed using my laptop, it became unstable. After I restarted the device, it began to update and then got terribly hung up. I needed an aide to unplug and re-plug it, so I put my call light on. It was a few minutes after 5 p.m., the beginning of supper, and I wondered if the aides were already in the dining room and too busy to help me.

My laptop's screen flashed white, then blue and white. I continuously pushed the laptop's wired touchpad, hoping it would recover. I was about to give up and sing to entertain myself, when the laptop's desktop popped up and the touchpad and laptop were working!

Relieved, I went back to what I was doing. A few minutes later I wondered why my call light was not answered. Since my breath-activated call light fails to activate at times, I wondered if it had failed me again. I considered calling the nurses' station to explain that I had needed help with my laptop and now no longer did. But I decided not to bother the staff during the supper hour.

Forty-five minutes later an aide knocked on my door and came in my room. She had a very puzzled look on her face. I asked her if my call light was on, and she told me that it was. I explained that I put it on because my laptop was acting up, but it was okay a few minutes later. My call light cannot be heard in the dining room, but she was told that it was on. Aides are not allowed to leave the dining room during the residents' supper to answer call lights.

I was told that my second-shift aide was outside with the resident smokers. This other aide helped me get a drink, fed me my snack early and left. I realized none of the staff knew how I felt when my call light went unanswered for so long.

A few minutes later, my afternoon shift aide came in and asked what I wanted for snack.

After I told my aide that another aide answered my call light and fed me a snack, my aide left without saying a word.

I know the aides are busy at supper, but I think one of them could have answered my call light sooner.



Kathleen Mears

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