A day after seeing my St. Louis Cardinals get SWEPT by the CUBS (#@!&^%) and fall below .500 (this means they have now lost more than they have won) and seeing the St. Louis Blues, attempting to finally win the treasured Stanley Cup in hockey and being the only modern team NOT to have won it, get destroyed in game 6 by the score of 5-1, I come to you with a basketball article. Chuckle. Sorry…that is just how I roll and I am trying to get my mind off the other two sports. So slap on your Air Jordans and come to Cornbread Arena for some nursing home reality. Here we go. 😉
The Box-in-One defense in basketball is a defense you might use when you are playing against a team with one player with substantially more possibility of causing you issues with his or her shooting prowess. (There is also such a thing as triangle-and-two for teams with only 2 scorers). In a Box-in-One, four defenders are posted at the four corners of the lane and are given a zone to defend and one poor sap chases the scorer everywhere he or she goes. In a baseball sense, this is the equivalent of when I used to hit in little league the the opposing coach would bring the outfielders in to the edge of the infield dirt because they knew I would one day be an IT professional and blogger and not a power hitter. Regardless of how well this works or how it makes anyone feel, this is a real defense that one can deploy. It is a shame they cannot have 6 players…then they could do a normal 2x1x2 zone defense have have the 1 person covering the HUGE hole in the middle that develops when you move a player out to chase a player the whole time. It is also a shame you cannot power dose the poor chasing player with Red Bull because they will be running all over the place chasing this star player like Mario chases a green 1-up mushroom (sorry for the mixed metaphors).
Here is my attempt at a visual, holding my phone while I recorded (We are a classy joint at the Cornbread table):
Enter the memory unit and the Sweet 17. The star player on our team? Ms. Persistent. Ms. Persistent is the star of the show these days, scoring all of the attention of the box-in-one. She scores help all of the time because she tries to stand up constantly out of her wheelchair. This sounds innocent enough, eh? Not in a nursing home memory unit, apparently. Poor Ms. Persistent, a new Sweet damsel in distress, falls like a sack of potatoes when she stands up. She also gets close to falling. A lot. No, really… When she isn’t trying to stand, she is bellowing in her mezzo-alto voice at approximately 175 dB for someone to come and help her stand up. (For sound laymen this level falls between a shotgun and a rocket launch in volume.) Ms. Persistent is black and blue from falls, looking like I would if I had to guard Shaq. And, sans the legal right to restrain a patient, the process, sadly, continues.
Enter the Box-in-One.
Poor Ms. Persistent, on Team Sweet 17, garners the floating defender most of the time. One of the couple nurses available at any given time in her memory unit is rightly stuck to her like glue to be sure she sits down and doesn’t face plant again. 🙁 Poor damsel in distress and poor 16 more that need help and call on shorthand defenders. Her important and needed needs leave a huge hole in the defense.
In basketball, this potential harm of this huge hole in the defense is somewhat mitigated by the other four being flexible and looking like a chameleon in all directions to guard against one of the other team finding this hole for an easy bucket. In the memory unit the same applies. The already understaffed lot, many of whom are new to the profession, lose a key defender and are open to holes, but everyone takes up the slack.
I would love to tell you that all you need to do is add more players in the memory unit, but, similar basketball, there seems to be some sort of obstacle to staffing deeper. There isn’t a rule in the nursing home, unless it is self-imposed. There is just a staffing reality that is messed up stopping from filling it. Another problem? Wages are too low in nursing compared to what is required. In a memory unit this is true in spades! Are you kidding me that working at your local Piggly Wiggly grocery store should pay more than men and women who, in the same shift:
- See people they have bonded with to some extent die before their eyes
- See some fall and break things
- See others projectile vomit on them
- Hear some beckon in need of a diaper change or a shower
- work doubles, all the while trying to maintain heavy-handed government compliance that could get them sued or prosecuted (or fired) if they break these laws
- …and, oh yes, they get to deal with visitors who want things for their loved ones, and sometimes rightly so.
- Did I mention that some are on hour 15 of their double?
- Oh there is so much more…all for less than grocery store wages for many of these heroes.
There is such a shortage in nursing, especially at the lower levels where quantity is sometimes as important as quality! There are holes in the defense and the other team, the illness, if growing in numbers and skills.
Action thoughts, in my humble, non-medical opinion:
- Hire more nurses and pay them better so that you can retain them!
- Utilize/change a program like Americorps Vista to supplement staff and build a bigger future employee base.
- Mobilize a bigger volunteer base of some sorts and train them to be able to help with non-skilled nursing projects. High school and college students have community service requirements…promote filling them watching like ladies like Ms. Persistent. She will stay in her seat as long as someone is near.
- Legislatively incentivise investing in more staff instead of expanding buildings and business holdings.
- Legislate a minimum number of patients per nurse policy.
I love nursing homes and their staff…I truly do. Mom has been a resident for nearly a year now. Sure, I would prefer everyone able to live out their final years be able to do that at their home, but that simply isn’t practical in many, many cases. Somehow this staffing crunch, seen in most nursing homes, can be helped some way. Currently with the “Right to Fall” laws strictly forbidding restraints and the shortage of nurses, a box-in-one isn’t even an option! Having a Sweetheart like Ms. Persistent face-planting (or scaring us all to death by almost doing so) all the day long can’t be the only option left, is it?
Note: I played basketball until I was about 12 and became so fat that the wind sprints became an activity against my core beliefs. One game way back when, at the North Side Boys Club basketball court, my parents promised me that they would pay me $1 for every point I made. Riding into said game with a .0002 points per game average, this made fiscal sense as an encouragement. However, my parents failed to understand my desire for quarters for Pac Man! I shot the ball every time I saw it. I stole the ball from teammates if I had to.In the end I scored about 20 points on a strong 10 for 375 shooting. I think by the end my team was probably joining in on the box-in-one against me.
Update: Mom is still doing well. A mild fever for a day, another without. No falls. The hospice nurses and other folks along with the poor, overworked staff are doing great. Team Mom is holding its own and she is responding with decent health, all things considered. Look forward to swinging by to shoot some hoops tonight. 🙂
Legal disclaimer: These are my own, humble opinions. They may or may not represent the thoughts or opinions of my employer, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball League, Shaq, Michael Jordan (The basketball player or the one from Creed II), or anyone else…probably just me. 😉 Take them with a grain of uhhh…errrr….cornbread.