Dementia patients are wearing out nursing home staff in Norway, union warns

OldIllustration: Cristian Newman / Unsplash

Dementia patients who do not understand why they need to be isolated are wearing out nursing home employees, who also have to work double shifts.

Marthe Medby Røyne-Helgesen at the Norwegian Nurses’ Association in Bærum regularly receives feedback from employees who find it challenging to work in nursing homes with infection. 

According to newspaper Aftenposten, that is especially true when the residents are in quarantine or are to be isolated.

Several times a day, nurses must ask patients who want to spend time in a common room to return to their room.

In nursing homes with a lot of infection, employees must wear infection control equipment at all times when they are at work. 

They get short air breaks, but many use such equipment from the time they get to work until they go home.

Double shifts

“Many have worked many double shifts in recent weeks. Then they are in infection control equipment from seven in the morning until 10 PM,” Røyne-Helgesen said. 

She fears that there is a risk of breaking the Working Environment Act in some nursing homes with a lot of infection.

According to newspaper VG, the experiences from Orkerød nursing home in Moss showed similar issues when several dozen residents with dementia had to be isolated in their rooms for several weeks.

“The residents did not understand why they were not allowed to come out. 

“The quarantine situation lasted for several weeks. When it was over, the residents were pale and thin,” social worker Anne Hagelskjær told the newspaper.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today


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