Monday, September 4, 2017

You'd Think a Nurse Would Know Better

This evening I had a rather unpleasant access dispute when I went to visit a former neighbor at the nursing home where he now lives. Another neighbor went with me and we have been to this nursing home to visit before with no problem. The person we were visiting was in the dining room finishing his dinner when we arrived and a nurse immediately stepped in front of me and said "The dog isn't allowed in here."

I told her he is a service dog so he is allowed and she proceeded to argue with me, loudly. She said if the health department would show up, they would get in trouble. I said no, he's a service dog so you would not get in trouble. She said it was nursing home policy. I said the ADA is a federal law that says service dogs are allowed and the nursing home can't have a policy that violates federal law. I offered to pull up the Dept of Justice website on my phone so she could read it for herself and she refused, saying it doesn't matter, it's their policy.

Her objection, it seemed, was to the idea of my SD walking into the dining room, not being in the facility altogether. I tried to explain that he is allowed in restaurants and places like that because he is a service dog and the Dept of Justice says he is allowed but she was not listening. I want to add that he has been in the dining room of this very nursing home before with no issue.

She  then walked away from me but continued arguing really loudly from across the room and it was causing a real scene.

I told the neighbor I'd gone there with to stay and visit as long as he liked, that Isaac and I would wait for him outside. I told the nurse that I would call and speak to her supervisor in the morning. And I went outside and sat on a bench to wait for my neighbor.

A few minutes later, the nurse came outside. She said, "I'm not sure how to ask this without seeming rude...."
I told her, "You've already been rude, so it's kind of late to worry about that."

She asked if Isaac was my service dog or if I was training him. I said he was mine. Then she said, "Oh, I didn't know that! That's different! You can come back in."

Then she told me I don't look like there is anything wrong with me and I told her that as a nurse, surely she knows not all disabilities are visible.

I am not sure but I suspect a coworker said something to her when I left. Perhaps she thought she better come tell me I was allowed in after all, so she wouldn't get in trouble. She did apologize and I thanked her for her apology, but I told her I still plan to call her supervisor in the morning and that I am going to suggest they provide some training for all the nursing staff.

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