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Despite being the owner of this blog, I’ve been mostly quiet about my own dealings with the nursing home industry related to the horrible care experienced by my mother at  four nursing homes and one assisted living facility where she resided during the last five years of her earthly life.  My mother died on January 1st of this year and I’ve needed time and space to process my grief — not to mention my rage — when it comes to the circumstance surrounding my mother’s abuse, abandonment, neglect and negligence she had to endure.

But enough silence. Now it is time for me to share my story, which I’ll share over the space of several posts to this blog.  It may take me a matter of weeks or months, but I will share all of my story/my mother’s story in this space.

Before I discuss the abusive and mediocre institutions and care givers who came into contact with my mother, I want to take the balance of this post to share my profound sense of gratitude for specific individuals who truly went above and beyond the call of duty to care for and advocate for my mother during the time she spent living in nursing homes.

Ebony was a certified nursing assistant (C.N.A.) at the first nursing home, located in Louisville, where my mother lived for six weeks back in 2005.   She was always curteous and kind to my mother.  She was hard working, honest and focused on providing the highest quality of care to my mother and all of the residents entrusted to her care.

Linda was a C.N.A. at a nursing home in Jeffersonville, Indiana that ended up on Medicare’s list of the 100 Worst Nursing Homes in the US.  Her excellent care of my mother and other residents proved to me that even in the worst of facilities you can still find outstanding nursing staff.  As a new hire to the facility in question, she told me how long-term C.N.A.’s at the facility assured her during training that she “did NOT have to” provide showers or other personal care to her residents, yet she COULD easily get away with documenting that she provided such care.  Linda had a core of decency that would not allow her to follow such unethical advice.  She worked incredibly hard for my mother and all the other residents assigned to her care.

Phillys was a nurse at that horrible Jeffersonville nursing home where Linda worked.  Phyllis took her own money to buy clothing for my mother and seaonal decorations and games for the unit she worked.  She would come in on her days off to deccorate the unit.  She went out of her way to provide appropriate activities for my mother and other residents when the nursing home’s management and activities staff failed to do their jobs to ensure that residents did more than just eat and sleep.

Barbra was a nurse at the Jeffersonville nursing home that had the courage to tell me, as a family member, the TRUTH about the deciet and corruption of the facility’s owner.  Her loving and caring spirit were evident in all the dealings she had with my mother and the other residents entrusted to her care.

Linda was a C.N.A. at the Bedford, Indiana nursing home where my mother lived the last fifteen months of her life who took her own money to buy my mother a Bible.  She purchased this treasured gift when she learned that my mother had started crying during a worship service one Sunday evening.  When asked why she was crying, my mother said it was because she missed her “Holy Bible”.  Linda was always loving and kind to my mother and to me as a family member.

I could mention several other wonderful nursing home employees who cared for my mother in addition to the ones cited here.  But hopefully what I’ve shared in this journal entry does make my point that I do not believe al nursing home employees are terrible people.  Indeed many do an outstanding job and DID do a wonderful job of caring for my mother.

In the meantime, I feel that I must mention that the true “core of evil” within the nursing home industry (and perhaps most corporate entities) is greed.

It is greed that places the love of money above the need to provide high quality care.

Greed gives corrupt nursing home administrators all the excuses they need to justify under-staffing  (which endangers resident care and safety) — and under-staffing is one way to boost a facilitiy’s profit margin. The larger the profit margin the larger the size of the salary bonuses many administrators make in addition to their salary (I understand that the average nursing home administrator in the U.S. earns a base annual salary (NOT including bonuses) of over $70,000!).

Greed is also the motivation behind the hostility and dishonesty of nursing home management and staff toward loving family members like myself.  You see telling half-truths and outright lies to family members is acceptable behavior since it can prevent a nursing home employee *or the facility where they work) from being held legally liable for abuse, abandonment, negligence, neglect or any other criminal behavior.

Oh yeah, and those hard working certified nurses aides making around $10.00 – $12.00 per hour — I would never accuse them of greed.

Nursing Home News Watch

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