I think we have all know the story taken from the Gospel of John, how Jesus wrote in the sand, after a woman had been caught in adultery. The crowd gathered around Jesus, waiting for Him to pass condemnation on the woman. Instead , he knelt and wrote something in the sand. Many have speculated as to what he wrote; some saying ” You without sin cast the first stone”. Whatever he wrote caused the crowd to scatter. Often, we too, must draw our own line in the sand, and take a firm standing for our own convictions and beliefs.
Where am I going today with this, you may wonder and how possibly can it tie in to dementia care? Well……I don’t know yet. I know my thoughts, but yet am unsure how to convey what they are in a simple manner. Let me explain.
I have an employee who has a criminal record longer than your right arm. There has been much debate throughout all of administration as to whether or not this person is “retainable” based on Virginia’s guidelines for employment in health care settings for those with criminal backgrounds. The guidelines state any person with a “barrier”crime can not work in long term care. What is a barrier crime? It’s anything from using a sawed-off shotgun to incest. Now on the other hand, offenses such as shoplifting, petty theft, embezzlement and fraud are not listed, leaving us open to hire people with such crimes. Let me get this straight. I can hire a person who is a known thief but not a person who has used a sawed off shotgun? Hmmm. The odds of anyone with a history of using a sawed off shot gun coming to my facility are mighty slim. But yet, the law allows us to expose seniors to people who may rob them blind without effort. I would like to think that all health care workers are good, kind, honest loving people, but we all know that is just not true.
Everyone has a past of breaking a law. I zip down the highway at record breaking speeds..breaking laws.I turn right on red, intentionally over-looking the “no turn on red” sign. Late at night with no traffic in sight, I run red lights. Certainly I am not comparing traffic violations to criminal activity? Well, yes I am. What is that old saying? ” Everyone has skeletons in their closet.” Or we could use the saying ” You without sin cast the first stone.” The question is, where do you draw the line of who to hire and who not to hire based on criminal backgrounds? Is it the place of health care administrators to determine employment based on what crime is okay to have and work in healthcare? How we we skirt discrimination cases when we start picking and choosing what we will allow? So, one employee can have a history of writing bad checks, and we will overlook that. Another has a history of credit card fraud. We choose not to hire based on that crime. My thought is, obviously both people have money troubles….so wouldn’t both be a risk to hire? If Mrs. Jones’s diamond ring disappears, who would you think took it? Both of them would be my first suspects. The problem is just that complicated.
The administrative offices are still hashing out their opinions about the current employment. Me? I’m drawing the line in the sand.
“Anyone with a criminal history need not apply,” I begin the new Hiring Process document. Problem solved.