Uninventing the wheel in the nursing home

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Gary Tetz
Gary Tetz

Better watch your back, people. Gangs of angry, wheelchair-bound residents are screaming at high speeds through our nation's nursing homes, pursuing their mobile vendettas with brutal demonstrations of frontier justice. Or at least they are in Peoria, IL. OK, at least one is. Or was.

It seems that on the evening in question at a peaceful-sounding place called Sharon Willow South, the rage-fueled captain of a rolling hallway schooner took deliberate aim at an alleged fellow resident, who had the misfortune to be simply standing outside the door of her room. Fortunately, the victim was not seriously injured in this frightening hall-rage incident.

Though I'm always wondering how my blogs will play in Peoria, I had no idea such evil could ever take root in the mythical heart of America. The city was home to Susan G. Komen, after all, who inspired a worldwide breast cancer awareness movement, but there is no credible evidence to suggest the alleged perpetrator was racing for a cure.

According to a bystander account in the police report, the hostile driver pointed his wheelchair at the target “with purpose and intention, and knocked her to the floor.” This witness deserves bonus points for being unusually articulate, but any faithful viewer of The Good Wife knows that such psychological speculation is never going to stand up in court. While the news story does not suggest a possible motive, I have no doubt that as time goes by and tenacious journalists dig for the truth, we'll learn nothing of further importance whatsoever.

Lest you think this commentary is little more than a frivolous waste of time, it's actually a cautionary tale with a very practical application. Look around your building and you'll be alarmed by how many other common wheeled devices are sitting nearby, loaded and unmoored. Med carts, for instance. Rolling computer stations. Swiveling office chairs. Mop buckets. In the hands of angry, misguided individuals, these can turn into deadly weapons of long-term care destruction.

In the efficiency and performance-driven environment of nursing home management, you're already an expert at not reinventing the wheel. Now for the safety of your residents and staff, it looks like you'll have to uninvent it too.

Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, who cobbles these pieces together from his secret lair somewhere near the scenic, wine-soaked hamlet of Walla Walla, WA. Since his debut with SNALF.com at the end of a previous century, he has continued to amuse, inform and sometimes befuddle long-term care readers worldwide.

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Things I Think

Things I Think is written by longtime industry columnist Gary Tetz, who resides in Walla Walla, WA. Since his debut with SNALF.com at the end of a previous century, he has continued to amuse, inform and sometimes befuddle long-term care readers worldwide.

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