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Difficult Patient

Andrew likes his job as a nursing assistant for the Memory Care Unit at Cedarwood Care Center, but sometimes he wished he wouldn’t have certain problems with the patients. He knew these problems weren’t the patients’ fault because their Alzheimer’s disease affected their memory and could cause them to be disrespectful and even aggressive at times.

A recent incident that bothered Andrew happened last week. Mrs. Martin, a resident in the unit, used several racial slurs when Andrew was trying to help her. The comments upset Andrew so much that when he left Mrs. Martin’ room, he wanted to quit his job. Andrew knew he had done nothing wrong, and Mrs. Martin’s Alzheimer’s disease was the cause of what she said, but the comments were still hurtful.

When he had a break later in the day, Andrew went to his supervisor, Mrs. Jones, and explained what had happened. He told her how he had felt and that he was worried he couldn’t provide the best care for Mrs. Martin anymore. Mrs. Jones assured Andrew that he was a good caregiver and reminded him that other patients were always telling her how much they liked him. In addition, Mrs. Jones assured Andrew that he could still provide good care for Mrs. Martin, but if the comments became a larger problem for him, her care could be reassigned to another nursing assistant.

When Andrew left Mrs. Jones’ office, he felt better. He felt confident that he could do his job and do it well.

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© 2015 by Southwest Adult Basic Education

Project made financially possible through grants from:

Southwest Initiative Foundation, Marshall Community Foundation, Southwest Regional Transition Partners, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Marshall Healthcare Partners