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Strong moral standards vs. strong government policies

The other day, we took a call from a retired police officer who threated our agency with a statement, “You better be good or else, because he arrested a lot of caregivers during his career. I have no problem arresting a nurse.” As sad as it was to hear him speak this way, we empathize in his frustration. There is no guarantee that government regulations or company policies will prevent crimes from occurring if the caregiver possesses low moral standards. Anyone with any standards can pass a home health aide certification test. It is likely that they will also get away with petty theft and abusive crimes without being caught too, because agencies tend to cover up such liability from fear of losing their license. (Case in point, see a grander scale of the hidden abuses by the institution about the story of Charles Cullen.) We had many similar stories from our own experience. Here’s one:

There was once a client who gave power of attorney to two privately hired social workers. The social workers asked our agency for a caregiver to take care of their client. The client had no family. This client had a respiratory condition, but healthy and clear of mind otherwise. She liked the intelligence and compassion of her caregiver whom we placed. One day, the caregiver drove the client to the doctor’s office, who ordered the client to get additional testing at her local hospital. It was supposed to be a routine in-patient medical exam only to last a day or so. Upon arrival at the hospital, the client told the caregiver to keep the walker in the trunk since the client anticipated being out the next day. A few days passed, and the caregiver could not reach the client, so she asked us to make the call to the hospital. We called to ask for the patient, and were told that there was no patient by such a name at the hospital. The client’s doctor was not in, so we called Adult Protective Services who apparently could not find the client either. Fourteen days later, the caregiver received a call from an attorney who represents the client who stated that he was closing the client’s estate, and that he asked if we had any outstanding balances that the client may have owed. This is another example of the difference things would have made if someone who loved her took care of her. All the doctors, social workers, non-family power of attorney(s), and hospitals are arrested by policies which prioritize limits on liability over the natural conscience to act upon the moral standards of love. Someone who really cared for her would have changed this outcome. What institution can truly ever do the right thing by adhering simply to regulations and rules? You either have the moral standards or you don’t. Licensed ethics by doctors may be outwardly but remains transient in compliance with government requirements. It is way beneath the requirements of true universal care.

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