Floater Fail

I guess I should start with a vocabulary lesson.  A "floater" is an attendant who has enough training in your house to substitute.  Our last floater stopped coming when we needed her, so it was time to train a new one.  This is the story of trying to find a new floater:

The trainee said, "It will be fine.  Don't worry about it."

One of our trusted, long time attendants was training her.  She said, "No, the diaper must be on correctly.  You can't leave it like this.  It will leak."

"It's fine.  Don't worry about it."

"No.  It has to be on correctly.  And look, you've torn it.  You need to get a new one."

"If you want it fixed, why don't you get me a needle and thread, so l can sew it up?"

"What?  Throw it away and start over."

"I don't need to listen to you, I'm a CNA."

Later that night, after our regular attendant had gone home, I was showing the potential floater how to give Savannah medication.  She couldn't figure out how to use a simple clamp.  When she nearly ripped Savannah's g-button from her stomach while I kept saying, "Stop.  Stop!  Stop!!!"  I intervened, grabbing her hand to prevent the impending disaster.  I removed the extender myself.  

"Are you comfortable transferring her to her chair?" I asked, doubtful.

"Yes, no problem," she waved me off.

As I supervised, she transferred Savannah from the gurney to the wheelchair.  She didn't position her properly.  I said gently, "Stop.  No, that's not right."  She started to strap Savannah in.  "No," I said more sternly, "That is not right.  Push her into position."  She ignored me.  "Get out of my way.  Position her like this."

"She's fine," the woman had the gall to say.

I reached under Savannah's hips and slid her into place.  

"No, it is not fine," I said, glancing at Tamara on the other side of the room.  She had a look of disgust on her face. 

What hiring, training, and supervising attendants has taught me over the years is to appreciate the good ones, the ones who show up for their shift, the ones who are willing to learn how to do things right, the ones who treat my child like a human being.  I appreciate the attendant who changes Savannah's diaper when she's dirty.  I appreciate the attendant who takes the time to get to know her, who soothes her seizures, and bothers to learn her name.

Attendant work is hard.  The hours are weird, the pay is low, the physical and psychological demands are high.  I feel for the attendants who struggle with complex personal issues, poverty, and a lack of reliable transportation.  I'm sorry that many of them have substandard educations, poor self-management, lax hygiene, and undiagnosed learning disabilities, but if those issues put my medically fragile child in serious danger, my sympathy evaporates.

We need people that can do this job unsupervised.  We need people who can be in our house when we are not.  We need people with the moral fiber to not take advantage of a severely disabled child who can't tell us how she was abused or neglected in our absence.

The next day, Tamara called the service and told them the woman was not welcome in our home again.

#disability #specialneeds #family #healthcare #inhomehealth #parenting


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