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Leaving Entertainers unattended???


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From time to time when I'm performing the activity staff person in charge of the activity will dissappear entirely. For Independant and most assisted living populations, this doesn't present a major problem, but when it happens in either a traditional nursing home or a secured altzheimer's unit, it seems unsafe for the residents.

 

I've had to stop my performance to break up fights between residents, to go get a nurse because an alarm was going off, etc...I don't think its my "job" per se to address those concerns, but I can't sit back and watch someone get hurt. I've found AD's grabbing a smoke, sitting in their office doing paperwork.

 

This doesn't happen too often but when it does, it bothers me. I'd like to know the groups thoughts on this...

 

How do you suggest I handle this? Usually I ask the AD to please ensure that someone from her department is in the room with me, that usually fixes it...but sometimes, I get blown off....

 

I've dropped a few homes over the years due to this, like I said it's pretty rare...

 

Thanks-

Edited by BillinDayton
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Hi BillinDayton,

 

I agree that it is very riskey to leave a volunteer who is entertaining the residents alone to handle whatever situation that, can, may, and probably will, arise. A volunteer who works with small groups or 1:1, and who has been trained to handle such situations may be another story. However, being the entertainer during a large group activity and having to provide supervision as well is too much to ask.

 

I wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea to make it clear where you stand on this issue right from the beginning, when initially discussing the services that you will be providing. and for those facilites where you are already volunteering, you may talk to the Activity Director and explain that you have found it important to take a look at the process of your work, and that since it is a new year you feel it is a good time to implement your new safety guidelines, explaining that this new approach will protect not only yourself, but also the residents, and the facility. Explain that the Activity Director's cooperation is essential and that your new guideline (s) will put your mind to rest and allow you to give 100% to your work with residents.

 

The Activity Directors and assistance that are on this site have a lot of experience and insight into situations like this. I am sure that you are going to receive some very good suggestions.

 

Thank You for sharing your special talents with the local nursing homes and care centers in your area. Your community is very fortunate to have you.

 

imzoop

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"and for those facilites where you are already volunteering,"

imzoop

 

Thanks for the thoughts, imzoop...

 

I want to make clear that I'm not a volunteer...ever...I am a paid entertainer.

 

I probably have mentioned not being left alone with several accounts when I set up the first visit, but your point is well taken. I should make it a point to cover that every time.

 

Thanks again...

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Guest Tinki

Hey Bill,

 

Here is my take - definitely let the AD know ahead of time, that you are not trained to be a caregiver, just and entertainer and that it what you are there to do.

 

I think I understand what you are getting at - why would this even happen? Why would an activity director even think for a moment that they can leave a paid entertainer, whom in many case they don't know from Adam, in a room with again alone with residents. There are many reasons why this =happens even though is absolutely positively not acceptable.

 

I will say I am pretty sure that I have done that, (only in Assisted Living) for a few minutes here or there - but all it take is a few minutes for an emergency to emerge. Now I am only talking about Assisted Living and like you said, it is a bit different, but not ethically or professionally.

Thinking about this there are many reasons you should never leave your residents alone with someone that you have no back ground check on or that has absolutely no training.

 

The reason I have done this before is the same reason that anyone else would do it - I want a break!!!!!! And when you see your residents entertained for a moment your first thought is grab a smoke or make a phone call or play a little catch up. I work with children as well, it is the same concept. When you are a caregiver you need a mental break here and there so you take them when you can get them.

 

So why don't we realize it is dangerous, I don't know, guess it was never brought to their attention.

 

I hope this sheds some light on the reasons why AD take off and leave you!!!

 

Karen

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We have two different paid musical entertainers that come to our facility, and I have only ever left them alone with the residents for a couple of minutes at a time. I leave for things like to check on a resident who wasn't quite ready to leave their room when the music started, but I want to give them a chance to come for at least part of it, so I'll pop back in and escort them out.

 

I don't think it's a good idea at all to leave them alone. When I do leave, I'm comforted to know that the nurses station is just a few steps away from where he's playing. Plus, the music is so good that there are often other staff members in there enjoying it too.

 

For independent and assisted residents, I think it's fine, but definitely don't leave the room for good when it's skilled or dementia residents. Plus, I think it's your job to be in there enjoying it with them. Ie, singing along and encouraging them to do so as well, or swinging arms with or even dancing with the residents. I feel like it's a really easy activity for me to do, so why not enjoy it? I get breaks between activities (hopefully, depending on how many meetings I have to go to.)

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