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A Piece of My Mind
December 5, 2007


Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2007;298(21):2458. doi:10.1001/jama.298.21.2458

When I was assigned to Helen [not her real name] as her hospice volunteer . . . A nursing home aide warned me:

Helen likes to be the center of attention and so can be demanding of the staff at times.

Helen herself told me:

Do you know the worst thing about living here? They don't see us anymore. Watch. See how they look right over our heads and never make eye contact? So I’ve given myself a new nickname—Dog Turd. That's how the aides treat me. They walk straight toward me then make a wide circle around me like they don't want to soil themselves.

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