Monday, 7 April 2014

A green folder in my bathroom? You're kidding, right?

Green doesn’t go very will with the color schemes in my bathroom.
But now I have a green folder in my washroom. And what’s worse is what in it — causing one to seriously ask if Alberta Health Services is running scared?
Perhaps more to the point: the provincial government’s health arm, apparently, believes all Albertans with people with disabilities do not have — and should not have — much control in their own care.
And we’re supposedly living in 2013 with progressive thinking?
I have cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair. I need assistance with my morning shower, getting onto a bath chair and adjusting the temperature of the water.
Here’s where the green folder enters the equation … and the bathroom. Alberta Health Services has implemented a new program: the person helping me with my shower must check the water temperature three times.
There’s a chart in the green folder and now must be initialed by the staff member after checking the shower temperature.
I seem to have lost the ability to do so myself, despite my 50 plus years of experience, and despite AHS officials not having the class to ask me if I can do so.
But hark! Something like that would take too much time, wouldn’t it? So AHS has decided to deem all people with disabilities in the same boat — tubs, you see, would be too small — and declare all of us mentally unfit to judge our own bath or shower water.
What if I come home next winter after being outside on a cold, stormy night and I am cold — and want a nice hot shower to warm up? Nobody can determine but me the warmth of the water that will warm me up me.
I am insulted thinking that individual right now seems to be running down my shower drain.
I resent my own home, the very place I own with money I have worked for over 30 years, being turned into a mini-institution. Not even a single millimeter.
Over the decades, people with disabilities have fought blood, sweat and tears to live in the community and take risks, rather than co-habituating in the stoic walls of nursing homes and extended care centres.
I am fearful this new initiative — and I’m being kind, here — might be just the beginning of AHS taking more control. What’s next? Signs in our condo’s lobby stating visiting hours are over at 9 p.m.?
We have to ask ourselves why? Why is this happening now?
A good friend made an interesting point Sunday: something probably happened with community care that was handed over to a lawyer who let legal jargon over rule common sense and first-hand experience. AHS had to act, do something — and their new charting system fit the knee jerk reaction perfectly.
I am not, by any means, dismissing the seriousness of the scalding water.  In 2004, Jennie Nelson Nelson died from second degree burns when she was a resident of the Jubilee Lodge Nursing Home in Edmonton when she was s tub. 
That ‘s a tragic loss.
I would strongly suggest testing water for staff caring for people who cannot judge safely judge water themselves is, indeed, a great idea. Absolutely.
But for Alberta Health Services to arbitrarily march into my home and make such intrusive demands is, in my books, fundamentally wrong.
And begs the question: how much hot water is Alberta Health Services really in, and why other innocent people are being sprayed with cold water?