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The president comments.

You have all heard the saying "to grow old gracefully" and I am sure that is what we would all like to do. Unfortunately life doesn't always treat us how we would like to be treated. As we age, our body can be subjected to a number of illnesses. My mother was always a stickler for ensuring we ate healthy food, but that didn't stop her dying of cancer. The saying "you are what you eat" doesn't always seem to ring true, although I am sure a healthy diet does help.

Last month, I spent a day going around a number of rest-homes giving 'flu injections to the patients from our surgery. I found it interesting to look at the different homes and the conditions they were in. Some were new; others had been around a while and could do with a coat of paint. On the whole, the staff were great.

The equipment now available has certainly helped improve the standard of care our patients receive. I observed a quadriplegic being showered on a special bed. Nothing like that was around when I trained and I could see it made the whole bathing experience much more pleasant for both the nurse and the patient.

I noticed activity groups, which help our elderly stay active and make the day more interesting for them. One lady had just had her hair done at the facility's salon and came back feeling very pleased with herself. Nurses and caregivers were giving out medications, helping people to the table, assisting with meals and generally showing they cared.

This experience confirmed for me that our "Fair Share for Aged Care" campaign has to succeed. These nurses are carrying out specialised care for our elderly and those with disabilities that many nurses could not do. They have educational requirements to meet just like the rest of us and yet their pay is way down the scale. So to nurses and caregivers working in aged care, keep up the good work, although I know it is difficult at times, especially when it seems the wheels of change turn so slowly.

All our patients deserve the best care and attention nurses can give, whether in a hospital, rest-home or primary care setting. We are all responsible for maintaining our competencies in whatever specialty we work. It is time the Government recognised this by paying all nurses on a similar pay scale, no matter where they work. Old age is something few of us can avoid. Maybe those making the decisions today may need a nurse or caregiver to look after them in the not too distant future.
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Title Annotation:LETTERS: TELL US WHAT YOU THINK
Author:Guy, Marion
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:May 1, 2006
Words:439
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