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Grievances to be aired

January 24th, 2016 at 04:08 am

I woke up this morning at 6:52 a.m., about the time I naturally awaken, but as so happens with me, my brain had crystalized someting very important even before I was fully conscious.

It was well before my mother died that I began privately maintaining a laundry list of grievances with the nursing home. I wanted to write a long and detailed letter, addressed to the chairman of the board of directors, and possibly cc a few people at the state agencies that oversee nursing homes.

At so many levels, in ways small and large, Masonicare could have done so much better for my mom, and I believe if they had, my mother still might be here today.

First and foremost, the quality of their rehab. One hour of physical therapy a day following hip fracture surgery is simply not enough for an elderly person to recover! Can't stress this enough. I brought this up all along the way, at the so-called Family Meetings I had with an array of healthcare providers at Masonicare, to the nurses and aides on staff, etc.

I didn't realize I have a choice. My cousins mentioned that some places are better than others, and that some may provide 2 hours of rehab a day. Too late to look into that now, but if I had known then what I know now, I never would have settled for 1 hour of therapy daily, even if the nursing home was located much further from my home and work.

The crappy state of their diet plan is #2 on my list. I've gone into it before, but it is founded on the standard American diet filled with sugar, sugar and more sugar, processed food, salt, etc. The ONLY fresh fruit I EVER saw there was watermelon. The dietician was noticeably defensive when I tried to tactfully raise this subject, and even when I was able to make some simple modifications to my mom's diet, they WERE NOT implemented because the stupid food servers consistently ignored the written orders due to laziness on their part.

Loss of personal items is a minor point but one I will still make. In fact, it was Masonicare's refusal to reimburse me a measly $40 for the disappearance of my mother's comforter (after I donated a $1400 scoot chair paid for out of pocket..a whole other fiasco) that I decided to press forward with my letter. They said they couldn't reimburse, after searching for it unsuccessfully, because I had not labeled it, like I did the clothes. They have a blanket statement in all the paperwork you receive saying they're not responsible for personal possessions but I'm sorry, there needs to be accountability somewhere. You can't just make a blanket statement and consider it a given.

And yes, I will certainly bring up the scoot chair. I thought it was the answer to my prayers and the only thing that seemed to prevent my mother from getting up by herself and falling again. She was falling repeatedly, starting when she was still at assisted living and continuing after the surgery in rehab, even with a nurse right in the same room. They seemed powerless to prevent it. This special chair, which sits low to the ground and which was usually on back order at the Canadian company where it is made, was highly recommended by a social worker at Masonicare, Wallingford, ok'd by the director of admissions at Masonicare Newtown, only to be taken away at the direction of the head of rehab who said the angle my mother was sitting in the chair was not good for her post- hip surgery. Fine, but why was I permitted and cleared to buy this chair in the first place then if he had the ability to naysay it?

This may provide me with some closure on these topics. Maybe they will throw it away and avoid dealing with it and give me some token response. But maybe they will take it to heart and do something about it. I owe it to my mother to try this.

The tiger inside me is growling.

7 Responses to “Grievances to be aired”

  1. livingalmostlarge Says:

    When you are in the moment it's hard to know what's best. It's only upon reflection you can see where you may have had an opportunity to change.

  2. rob62521 Says:

    I think it will provide closure.

  3. snafu Says:

    Hello tiger. As I read your posts, I thought there were a great many other issues to growl about. I hope you will consider discussing your findings on social media sometime in the future, so that other families who are suddenly thrust into a similar situation can be more aware of perils and points to watch. Would you consider follow up to AARP and/or whatever senior organizations advocate in your community? There are politicians holding portfolios for senior care, who seem unfamiliar with the inadequacies of senior care. Based on the sum of your writings, I'd concluded that this was a poorly monitored industry whose profit overlay replicated the over-the-top profit of the funeral business. The thing that bothers me is the pretenses of care.

    The most outrageous problem is the lack of readily accessible, accurate information. Every family with a senior in distress has to waste huge blocks of time and money trying to find out what they need to know. Assigned social workers aren't fulfilling their communicative role. You get answers to questions you ask but are you asking the most important questions? Are you getting true answers? Understand, this is certainly not a criticism as You who were doing your best in midst of giant upheaval...

    I recall reading your posts and thinking...other patient's families should know this! Second, I keep hearing the same hymn endlessly 'who sir, me sir? On no sir, not me sir, must be '__________ .' As example...How did your mom fall out of bed? Where were rails? Why was this not discovered/diagnosed for several days? Why did ambulance/EMT not see this? How much rough handling is enough?

    Some day, when the pain of loss has diminished, I think it would be helpful to others to learn from your experience. Is it likely that
    seniors be safer with better quality of life for time remaining, in their homes with paid care for about the same cost as you expended in total?

    Rehab doesn't talk to social worker, nutrition/dietician or make it up as it goes along.

  4. Carol Says:

    I think your critique has plenty to offer if the recipients take it in. I agree that for a theoretically regulated industry, the care offers a lot to be desired. It is as if perfectly capable people left their brains at home.
    One thing though, mostly to help you find peace, from my former reading, Alzheimer's is more than a horrible memory problem, it is a disease that makes the body increasingly frail and vulnerable.

  5. crazyliblady Says:

    I think you have every right to complain about these problems. The people in charge at the nursing home need to be aware of what's really going on. They need to know whether the help is really taking care of people, listening to the family's concerns, and if personal possessions go missing. My question regarding laundering personal possessions would be why couldn't the housekeeping staff pick up everything needing to be washed for a patient in a bag with the patient's name on it, launder it in a machine by itself, and then return it to the patient's room? I would think there would be less chance of things "going missing" by accident.

  6. alice4now Says:

    If you write a letter about the grievances it will be on record, somewhere. It will not be unnoticed. I'm so sorry about the loss of your mother, I missed that post somehow. Your love for her was evident in your writing.

  7. frugaltexan75 Says:

    I think writing a letter stating all of what you said, plus anything else you want to mention is a very good idea.

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