Sunday, July 12, 2009

Care taker, or someone who can't be bothered?

So I performed a rather disturbing call at work the other day. I was requested to help someone with a ringtone download. When I reached them I discovered it was an elderly woman at some sort of managed care or nursing home scenario. In the course of helping her I needed to call her back on a landline phone. She didn't know the number, so she handed the phone to one of the care takers to give me the number. The care taker refused to assist the customer but instead demanded that I give her the instructions and when they were too techy for the young nurse to figure out she informed me not to try to help the customer anymore and that the customer would get help from her family.

So my mind at this point is screaming that we've got a serious ethical lapse here. A tenant of a nursing home should have access to their customer care representative and be able to perform whatever they want to over the phone with reasonable accomodation, such as giving a phone number to a customer care representative. Instead because it was too much trouble to handle it herself, the nurse forbade me to have an interaction with my customer that the customer initiated. Granted, ringtone downloads are not that important of a quality of life issue, but in as much as can reasonably accommodated people should be allowed to live their life without interference. I could here in the background the nurse telling the customer not to try to do this on her own and to wait for her family. Granted, the patient may have been unable to perform the function on her own, and I had even suggested getting a family member to help. However when the customer wanted to try it on her own, there is no ethical reason to forbid her a service from a customer care representative that she is paying to be able to receive.

As I've seen another blogger mention, care taker relationships are not equal power relationships.

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