In response to the recent article regarding the changes being made to Wing 3 [at Bradley Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center], the Alzheimer’s Unit and particularly about there being no difference in the care for patients from one wing to another, I would like to point out that our medical professionals and hospitals are divided into specialties.
Each specialty represents a different focus of care, being aware of what a patient’s needs are and how best to treat and/or care for the individual.
If you had a heart attack, you would not be placed in a maternity ward or go to your dentist if you have an ingrown toenail. We would go to the professional or facility that best understands our needs.
Even though each part of the hospital may be proficient in their field, offering excellent care, that does not mean they are interchangeable and able to perform as well outside the area of their expertise. They are focused differently.
Wing 3 did provide better care for the Alzheimer’s patients simply because that was their focus. It was smaller with fewer people coming through. Wings 1, 2 and 4 are not partitioned or separate; therefore, any patient on these wings can easily get lost or feel lost.
The Alzheimer’s patients do not have the capacity to deal with that much area. They also do not realize when they need a drink of water or food or a bathroom. The staff on Wing 3 gave extra attention to be sure the patients were kept hydrated or had extra snacks, if needed. Part of the difference was they understood each patient’s limitations. They understood what they were capable of and what they might enjoy or what they might need.
They understood the disease and its progression. Whoever designed Wing 3 certainly understood the Alzheimer’s patient. Bigger is not always better, and feeling secure is better than feeling lost.
Much has been said in the news about Alzheimer’s since Pat Summitt was diagnosed with the disease. Many others such as President Ronald Reagan have also suffered and died from Alzheimer’s.
Almost every family I know has been touched by it in some way. We are all in this together, whether we realize it or not. So far we have found no cure.
When we choose the care for the helpless among us, we should choose carefully. We could also be choosing how we ourselves will be cared for in the future.
— Jerry Brantley