How long does it take you to get ready to face the day – to get yourself up and out of bed, have a shower, have breakfast and get dressed? Half an hour? Forty-five minutes? More?
Could you do it all in less than 20 minutes? What if you were an older adult with a disability? What if you had dementia? How long would it take?
One of the reasons people living with dementia get sedated in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) is to make them more compliant so they require less care worker time, because most LTCFs do not have enough personal care workers to provide proper care. Staff to resident ratios in LTCFs, including “memory care” units, range from 1:8 or 1:10 in “better” places to 1:20 or more in others.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out it’s impossible for one care worker to rouse, toilet, wash, dress and help eight to 10 older adults living with dementia to have breakfast as well in less than two hours, and to do it properly. But that’s often what’s expected. Clearly, it can’t be done. No way, no how. Not well. Not even passably. No wonder personal support workers are frustrated.
In the UK, care workers who visit people in their homes to help them with activities of daily living are expected to get the job done in 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes. This 2017 spoof, starring UK 60-minute home makeover maven Claire Sweeney, shows just how ridiculous that is. The same basic principle applies in LTCFs.
For those who aren’t familiar with Claire Sweeney and 60-Minute Makeover, here’s a 2014 clip from one of the episodes (in which she often wore cleavage-revealing clothing to the delight of voyeurs):