How NOT To Use A Kidney Basin.

Any suggestions from the floor regarding the title of this here post? C’mon, take a guess. Any guess will do. There are no WRONG guesses here folks! For those not in the know, a kidney basin is a small plastic container in the shape of a kidney bean. The ones we have at work are a greenish-blue colour but I’m sure they have other varieties. Regardless of its appearance, it’s purpose is to collect soiled dressings and any other such medical waste. I have a resident who likes to carry one around with him in case he coughs and needs to spit up. Fair enough. Spitting on the floor isn’t an acceptable behaviour.

That being said, I found his kidney basin today in a place it shouldn’t have been, with something in it that shouldn’t have been there. It was 2:45, 15 minutes before the end of my shift and as I was doing my rounds I came across his little beanie container with feces in it. Underneath a chair in the hall way. Nice, right?

This resident in particular is a challenge for me and all the staff who have worked with him. He has moments where his cognitive abilities are non-existent, but he also has moments when he’s completely lucid and understands full well what it is he is doing. Dealing with a bi-polar-like illness such as dementia is not an easy task. How do you tell this individual that what he did was wrong and not to do it again? You do it exactly like that: What you did was wrong, please use a toilet the next time you have to go.

But what if when you attempt to say this he is in a frame of mind that doesn’t understand? In this case, you say nothing. When dealing with an illogical illness, you cannot – as the caregiver – attempt to find a logical solution. It isn’t there. It will never be there. You are in an ongoing battle with an illness that knows no bounds. It fears no one. And it plays tricks better than any magician on the planet.

So I put on my gloves, put my big girl PSW game face on and I picked it up. And I threw it out.

I work in a nursing home.

So how was your day?

3 thoughts on “How NOT To Use A Kidney Basin.

  1. Well, it would be a difficult task, no matter which way you slice it. You have to reinforce that the behaviour is inappropriate, and it would no doubt be a challenge to convince him of it, especially if he isn’t always aware that he’s doing it.

    I would think you’re going about it in the best way, though. You’re a compassionate person, so that’s why you would seek to understand it from his perspective.

    As always, an enjoyable read!

  2. I do manicures at my nursing home and I tried a few times to use (new, clean) kidney basins for soaking hands in soapy water. Disaster. The residents kept turning them over. They just don’t have the awareness and motor control to NOT put all their weight on the edge of the basin. I still haven’t found anything heavy enough to use as a finger bowl.

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