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Nights were scary times for my mother when she was living in a nursing home setting.  The noises from staff and other residents often frightened her.  And it was really hard for me to go home for the night as many times she would beg me to “stay” all night long at her bedside. Several nights I didn’t want to leave her alone in an understaffed nursing home, especially (as was often the case) her room was several feet away from the nurse’s station.  Would the staff even check her — let alone, when needed, turn her in bed — every two hours as they were mandated by the state?  Would they leave her wet most of the night because they didn’t have enough staff on second shift to take her to the restroom?

I often sensed how very lonely my mother was — day and night — in many of the nursing homes where she lived.  I really didn’t mind spending several hours each day with her.  To help her feel less lonely, less frightened it was worth all the time I could spare to visit with my mother.

I always called to check on my mom as soon as I arrived back at my apartment, no matter how late it was.  I think the phone calls between visits are really important: they provide the nursing staff a reminder that someone cares about the resident and therefore they are accountable both to the resident as well as to their loved one(s).

As I sit at my desk in my apartment at 12:20am, my eyes fill with tears.  Again tonight I miss my momma.  Again tonight I feel her “late night fears” and her frustration with the nursing homes where she lived.

My momma was a great lady.  She worked harder than most people I know.  When I was in grade school she walked 42 blocks per day, five days per week to and from her sub-minimum wage school crossing guard job (we didn’t have a car).  She was a crossing guard Mondays through Fridays.  Then she worked hard as a cook and waitress (yet another sub-minimum wage job) on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Joann Poland’s work ethic was inspiring to me!  The quality of her work always held in high regard by bosses, co-workers and her customers. It then seems all the more unjust that many of the nursing home staff who cared for her lacked much (if any) work ethic!  Many of them didn’t think twice about arriving late for work; arriving under the influence of alcohol and other mood-altering substances; taking multiple breaks they weren’t allowed to take; taking breaks outside of the building with multiple co-workers; thus endangering the safety of my mother and her fellow residents.  How pathetic it was to wait up to 2 1/2 hours (often at least 45 minutes) for a CNA and/or nurse to respond to a call light to take my mother (who was taking a diuretic [e.g., a medicine that made her pee!] to the restroom.   The crappy care my mother (and other nursing home residents) put up with is obscene.  It is neglect and therefore abusive.

“Lord, I thank you for giving me a hard working mother!  How I miss her tonight!  My heart breaks as I think of the loneliness she experienced in various nursing homes where she lived.  Loneliness that could have been lessened by adequate staffing.  Adequate staffing that was prevented by corporate greed.

Please Lord, comfort all nursing home residents this night — give them caregivers who have nothing less than a loving heart and an outstanding work ethic! And Lord please touch, as I believe only you can, the heart of every nursing home executive, stockholder, administrator and management person so that the the power of greed be broken in their heart and mind once and for all and that a commitment to providing the highest quality of compassionate care take it’s place.”

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Occasionally I get messages, usually one liners, from folks who want me to provide a link back to their spam website. I never post those messages, let alone links to such websites.  Spam websites, like spam e-mail messages, are focused on trying to sell something. I know, it is a tough economy. But I won’t give space to such websites. I don’t know about you, but I get enough spam (e.g. junk e-mail messages) that I have little patience for the folks who send out such nonsense.

One particular spam website owner has been unusually persistent, posting two comments within a 24 hour period.  I wont give you the link to their website or their e-mail address, but I will quote their one liner message they’ve posted twice because I think it deserves a response.  The spammer wrote, “Nursing is such a very hard job.”  My response:  And?… What is your point?  LOTS of jobs are very hard. Yet having a so-called “hard job” is no excuse for poor, let alone mediocre, job performance.

Yes, being a nurse IS a hard job.  Don’t most persons considering nursing as a career realize this fact before they begin to work in this field?  Perhaps it is only once a nurse is done with her/his education and actually has hands on contact with nursing home residents that they really figure out the actual degree of stress and pressure that comes with being a nurse.

The best nurses who took care of my mother in a nursing home setting were the ones who regularly got off their butt and helped their over-worked Certified Nurses Aides (CNAs) provide care to residents. I can’t tell you how many lazy nurses I encountered over the years who were rude to their CNAs, let alone refused to lend a hand to help them. They would much rather plant their butts behind the nurse’s station making personal phone calls to family and friends, rather than lift a finger to help…let alone have face-to-face contact with the residents assigned to their care.

Honestly, I don’t hate nurses.  I just know that some are better than others and some work harder than others.  I want to believe that most nurses (and CNAs) are capable of providing compassionate, quality and thoughtful care to every nursing home resident they come into contact with. However the reality is a certain percentage of nurses (for whatever reasons) are not responsive to the needs of the residents entrusted to their care.

Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses are paid much more money (as much as $8.00 to $12.00 per hour more in nursing homes in Kentucky and Indiana) than are Certified Nurse’s Aides. My personal observation is that when it comes to physical labor, CNAs work much harder than nurses. For example I personally witnessed one nurse who (quite illegally) allowed her CNAs to pass pills to residents. Talk about dangerous!  I reported this situation to the Indiana Board of Health. The nurse in question was not just any nurse but the DIRECTOR OF NURSING! Clearly she knew better! This nurse wanted to plant her butt at the nurse’s station and talk on her cell phone rather than pass bills to the residents entrusted to her care. So please don’t tell me that ALL nurses work hard or do the work they are paid to do. Most do. Some don’t. When they don’t they often place the safety of resident’s in jeopardy!

For nurses and CNAs, I would think the most difficult part of their job is being “caught in the middle” between all of the persons they have to interact with on a regular basis (e.g., doctors, residents, family members, supervisors, co-workers, etc.).  My observation is that working in a nursing home (like working in a hospital) can be a very “political” experience.  I don’t know about anyone else, but office politics isn’t something I’ve enjoyed dealing with.

I can’t speak for foreign countries, but here in the United States every part of every state has someone (sometimes several persons) to help nuring home residents and concerned loved ones to assist when concerns about nursing home care (or lack of care) arrise.  These helpful individuals, known as long-term care ombudsmen, are often times underpaid and overworked.  Some ombudsmen are  unpaid volunteers who are supervised by paid ombudsmen.   Their service is FREE to nursing home residents, family members and concerned friends of residents.

When is it appropriate to contact an ombudsman?  In a non-emergency situation, it is best to contact them after the concerned party has been unable to resolve their concerns with nursing home management.

If you feel you have an urgent or emergency situation involving the safety or welfare of a nursing home resident, then immediately contacting an ombudsman (without trying to resolve matters with the facility) may be entirely appropriate.  However when you have an emergency situation and time is of the essence, the best place to turn for help is the state agency responsible for regulating nursing homes within their jurisdictions (in Indiana the agency is the state Board of Health, within Kentucky it is the Office of the Inspector General — all nursing homes must provide those who ask with contact information for the state agency responsible for regulating them.  Nursing homes must also provide the phone number for the nearest long-term care ombudsman.  Most states require nursing homes post this information in a prominent place, such as near the main entrance of a facility or at/near a nurse’s station.  The bottom line is that if you ask facility staff for contact information for the ombudsman or state nursing home regulatory agency, they MUST provide you with that information, which should include a phone number.

In many states it is also entirely appropriate to contact the local office of Adult Protective Services when you feel the safety, rights or welfare of a nursing home resident is threatened.  Call your local police or sheriff’s department to find the number for the Adult Protective Services office that serves your area.

My experience (and that of many other loved ones of nursing home residents) is that nursing home staff and management will often feel threatened and become overtly hostile when they become aware that an ombudsman, state regulartory agency or an Adult Protective Services office has been contacted about problems at their facility.  Big deal!  If they (e.g., nursing home staff and managment) are doing their job (let alone doing it correctly), then they have NO reason to fear the state’s intervention!  Please don’t allow nursing home staff or management to intimidate you into silence!  You have a legal right and a moral responsibility to request state intervention on behalf of a nursing home resident!

To find contact information for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman in your corner of the United States, please visit the website of the National Citizen’s Coalition for Nursing Home Reform (www.nccnhr.org). On the left side of every major page of their website you’ll find a button with the words “Locate An Ombudsman”. Click on that button to find the information you need. In addition to ombudsmen, you’ll also find listings for each state’s nursing home regulatory agency and other agencies that respond to concerns related to nursing home care.

I need to point out that while ombudsmen are available to investigate concerns and offer advice, they do not have the legal authority to force nursing homes to do anything. Only the state agency entrusted with long-term care facility oversight has such power.  Adult Protective Services employees also have legal authority that ombudsmen do not have. At the same time, ombudsmen will be able to render a responsible opinion regarding when it is appropriate to contact the state, in case you aren’t sure if this the right option to pursue.  Their wisdom and experience is an invaluable tool in protecting your loved one.

I have decided that an effective way to prove the point that nursing homes in Kentucky and Indiana (plus all of the other states where minimum staffing standards are not in place thanks to gutless state legislators who are in bed with the nursing home industry) are dangerously understaffed is to show up with a video camera in hand at nursing homes — unannounced.  I will do this at times other than regular business hours (when the Administrator and Director of Nursing are likely not onsite), like evenings, in the middle of the night and on weekends and holidays.  I will be consulting an attorney about my legal right to do this within the next few days.  Assuming I do have a legal right to do this, then it will happen!

I would love to find other nursing home reform activists who are willing to join me in this action.  Whether you want to come along with me as a wittness, or you do this independently of my efforts, this desperately needs to happen! I will also be consulting the news departments of area television stations to enlist their help.  The next thing will be to post our video evidence on YouTube and on this blog to help get out the word (and the pictures) about the depth of the problem of corporate greed as expressed through nursing home understaffing!

I’ve posted quite a bit of information recently concerning a bill (House Bill 157) that is currently being held hostage by Kentucky Rep. Tom Burch (Democrat – south-central Louisville) that woud mandate minimum staffing standards for nursing homes in the Commonwealth. Kentucky and neighboring Indiana are two of only 13 states that do not yet have staffing standards in place, but instead rely on irritatingly vague federal standard that simply requires that nursing homes must be “adequately staffed” at all times.  Unfortunately when the twisted mindset of corporate greed is given the freedom to interpret the phrase “adequately staffed”, the result is almost always a staffing level woefully inadequate to meet the bare basic needs of residents — hence the very real need for this proposed legislation.  (You’ll find out how to contact Rep. Burch elsewhere on this blog. If you are a registered voter residing in Kentucky, I ask you to contact him, requesting that he allow HB 157 to come up for discussion and a vote in his Health & Welfare Committee.)

In the meantime, I’ve “done the math” on this bill and I do not believe for a moment that it would require nursing homes to spend an excessive or unreasonable amount on staffing to meet the needs of their residents. As the son of a now-deceased nursing home resident, I know for a fact that the current policy of allowing a very subjective interpretation of “adequately staffed” does NOT allow for quality care of residents!!! 

Regarding toileting, here is a real life example of the problems caused by inadequate staffing: At nursing homes in both Indiana and Kentucky, my wheelchair-bound, legally blind mother who was diagnosed with dementia regularly had to wait an average of 45 minutes for CNA’s to respond to her call light and take her to the rest room!  At more than one nursing home I personally wittnessed my mother waiting for up to TWO and even TWO AND ONE-HALF HOURS for a nursing staff member to toilet her.  On more than one occasion she ended up soiling herself, hence she was mis-diagnosed as being “incontent”. I’m sure that I’d be “incontent” too if I had to wait two hours (or more) to need to take a dump or whiz!  “Adequately staffed”?  Not quite!

You might wonder why I (If I really loved my mother) didn’t personally take her to the toilet.  Apart from the fact that it wasn’t something I was trained to do, the reality is that I frequently BEGGED the facilities where my mother lived to let ME handle her need to be toileted.  But in every nursing home where my mother lived, I was told point-blank that for reasons of “legal liability” I was not allowed to assit in meeting my mother’s toilet needs.  So please don’t think for a moment that I didn’t try, because I did regularly and repeatedly BEG nursing home staff to let me help. One facility even went so far as to claim that for me, as a family member, to attempt to toilet my mother would place her in “serious risk of injury”.  I asked repeatedly for training, but only one facility offered to help in this regard — and then I still wasn’t allowed to help with toileting where my mother lived, but was only allowed to toilet her if/when I took her out of the nursing home.

Like I said,  I’ve “done the math” on resident-to-CNA ratio mandated by HB 157* and when it comes to the bill, this is what I found…

First Shift: Nursing homes must have one CNA for every nine residents.  This means, minus time for legally required paid breaks, that each nursing home resident would receive care for an average of 50 minutes over the course of an eight hour shift.  Excessive?  Hardly!  First shift CNA’s often times have to…

1:  Get residents out of bed.
2:  Bathe each resident.
3:  Assist many residents with putting on clean clothes for the day.
4:  Deliver breakfast trays.
5:  Assist with feeding residents breakfast.
6:  Pick up breakfast trays.
7:  Provide fresh water and snacks twice: (between breakfast and lunch and again between lunch and dinner).
6:  Deliver lunch trays.
7:  Assist with feeding residents lunch.
8:  Pick up lunch trays.
9:  Transport wheelchair-bound residents to/from group activities.
10:  Toilet/Offer to toilet each resident an average once every two hours (= 4 times per shift).
11: Chart the food intake of each resident cared for.
12: Chart the “restroom output” of each resident cared for.

This is a LOT of hard work for one person to do — and yet most CNA’s barely earn above minimum wage!  Does any intelligent, compassionate person really believe that allowing residents 50 minutes of care to do all of the things listed above, over an eight hour shift, reflects anything close to an “excessive” let alone “burdensome” level of staffing?

I personally observed my mother living in facilities that scheduled no more than one CNA for every 12 residents during first shift.  One facility where my mother resided only schedled one CNA for every 19 residents during first shift!

Assuming all five CNA’s showed up for work (let alone arrived on time) at the nursing home where my mother lived on a unit with 60 residents, this means that (during first shift) each resident had an average of just 37 1/2 minutes care spread out over an eight hour shift.  At this facility, as few as two, three or four CNA’s would routinely show up for their shift and many were frequently 15 minutes or more late for work.

On more than one occasion I personally observed only two of the five CNA’s show up for work on this unit with 60 residents!  That means that each resident had an average of only 15 minutes of direct care during an eight hour period.  When only two CNA’s would show up, it wasn’t uncommon for my mother (and many other residents on this particular unit) to be left in bed for both breakfast and lunch (indeed for most all of the first shift).  They would set her meal tray beside her bed, but not where she could reach it, let alone see it (“Your momma must not be hungry today!” I heard on more than one occassion) — yet wouldn’t even provide her with the assistance she needed to be fed.  And yes, as soon as I figured out that this nonsense was going on, I made sure that I was present at both lunch and dinner (often spending 6 – to 8 hours per day with my mother) so at least I could feed her (despite objections from nursing home staff that I take part in this area of her care).

As I write this, I just want to SCREAM OBSCENITIES at the nursing home ownership, management and staff where my spent most of the last five years of her earthly life!!!  This lack of adequately staffing is obscene and provides clear evidence that the corporate greed that rules nursing homes in Indiana and Kentucky (and other states as well) MUST be challenged with legislation like HB 157*.

* HB 157 = House Bill 157.

As the owner of NursingHomeReality, I promise to never print the identity of individuals who share accounts of nursing home situations. I have this policy for several reasons, none the least of which has to do with concerns about legal liability. But as a family member of a loved one who experienced various forms of abuse and neglect in a nursing home setting, I am careful to protect the identity of those have the courage to share their story mostly because I know from my own experience how paranoid and vindictive nursing home owners, management and staff can be when it comes to dealing with family members who dare to point out problems regarding resident care.

I will be forever especially protective of the identity of those family members who’s loved one is currently a nursing home resident. I would not put it past nursing home staff to retaliate against both the family member who contributed to this blog and/or the resident who’s story is being told on this blog.

I’ve discovered that retaliation against family members takes many forms.  Here are some ways I was retaliated against while my mother lived in nursing home facilities…

— At a nursing home where my mother lived in south-central Indiana an administrator, when she learned that I had filed a complaint with the Indiana Board of Health, practically screamed at me over the phone, “Well, where would like me to move your mother? I can get her out of here today!” Hardly a mature response!  The previous administrator of this facility made the same threat when I insisted that my mother’s right to wear whatever clothing she wanted to wear to bed at night be respected (yes, this particular nursing home administrator thought she had the absolute right to dictate to my mother what she was to wear to bed — the nursing home was my mother’s home and she had the legal right to wear the clothing she desired.  The state’s only interest is that nursing home residents wear clean clothing).

— At a nursing home in Louisville, Kentucky an administrator threatened to transfer my mother to a facility 200 miles away — against my wishes as power of attorney — because of complaints I made to the state.

— At a nursing home located in southeastern Indiana (one that later was added to Medicare’s list of 100 Worst Nursing Homes in America, the owner and administrator attempted to ban me entirely from the property, claiming that my complaints to the Indiana Board of Health had created “a hostile working environment” since nurses and CNA’s claimed that they were afraid that I would cause them to lose their license.  Thankfully, with the help of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, an Adult Protective Services staff person immediately interviened and made it clear to the facility that such an act towards me was a violation of my mother’s legal rights (e.g., my mother had the right to visit with me in her home — yeah, it’s her home (not that of the owner or administrator). Despite warnings from the Adult Protective Services worker handing my case, the nursing home attempted to limit my visits with my mother to the facilities lobby or outside the building — above all, they would not allow me on the unit where she resided…where I could witness for myself how the staff was neglecting and abusing her.

These are just three of what were easily dozens of occasions when I experienced retaliation in response to advocating for my mother to receive quality health care.  I would never want anyone this kind of mistreatment because someone who found this blog figured out that you had “the nerve” to report abuse and/or neglect of your loved one.

I also receive many accounts of problems with nursing home care from current and former employees of these facilities.  Obviously (though it would surely be illegal to do so) an employee could easily find themselves fired for blowing the whistle on nursing home problems.  More than that, I’ve heard of cases where the management of nursing homes within a particular geographical area keep a sort of “Black List” of former employees who have the integrity to report problems — rather than turning their head and pretending problems don’t exist.  I would never want a written account published on this blog to prevent a decent nursing home employee from keeping or finding a job in an industry that desperately needs more persons of integrity to staff it’s ranks.

If you are wanting to write about your personal eye-witness experience (not passing on a second-handed account) of the neglect and/or abuse of a nursing home resident/residents, please click on the “Share Your Story” link near the top of this page for further instructions.

Allow me to further clarify that not all information presented on this blog is of an anonymous or confidential nature.  As you may have noticed, I occasionally devote space to reporting nursing home reform initiatives as well as news media reports dealing with the nursing home industry. This type of information necessitates identifying individuals involved in particular situations. Questions? Feel free to ask!

We salute the Courier-Journal (www.courier-journal.com), the daily newspaper based in Louisville, Kentucky, for their bold endorsement of House Bill 157, currently held hostage by Rep. Tom Burch (Co-Chair, Health & Welfare Committee) that would mandate minimum staffing requirements for nursing homes in the Commowealth!  The following editorial appeared in today’ s edition (2/9/10) and is reprinted for your consideration.

Editorial  |  Nursing Home Reform

The real priorities of the General Assembly are on shocking display in the battle over a nursing home reform bill. The measure, House Bill 157, which is intended to set minimum standards for staffing, is similar to laws that exist in 37 states.

But the reform bill’s co-sponsor told The Courier-Journal’s Laura Ungar that its chances seem dim this session.

Meanwhile, over the past decade the nursing homes’ trade group has showered a quarter of a million dollars on Frankfort lawmakers, some of whom are persuaded – surprise – that the reform is unnecessary.

The claim of trade group president Ruby Jo Cummins Lubarsky would be laughable, if it were not so sad. The nursing home bill, she says, is not needed because, “Numbers don’t equate to quality. Staffing is very important in a facility, and there is no incentive for a facility to not meet the needs of its residents.”

Ask anyone who has had a friend or relative in a nursing home whether the issue of staffing isn’t a major one. Even in the best-run homes, it’s not uncommon for aides to be surly, dilatory or lack basic communication skills. And residents, many of whom suffer deep depression, dementia and other conditions, are often incapable of being heard when they complain. The powerful stench of feces and urine often greet the visitor at the door. Residents may lie or sit for hours in wet diapers or on fouled sheets – simply because there is not enough help, or because it’s not responsive enough.

Many nursing homes benefit handsomely from Medicare and Medicaid tax dollars. Many are for-profit operations that cut back on staff to pump up the bottom line. Federal regulations are considered inadequate by knowledgeable observers and by all but 13 states.

The elderly in Kentucky deserve better than that. And the legislators holding the bill back should have them on their consciences.

As mentioned in a previous journal entry, we are asking all Kentucky citizens of voting age to contact their state representative to 1) Ask for support of House Bill 157, 2) Ask them to put pressure on Rep. Tom Burch to allow the bill to come up for both discussion and vote in his Health & Welfare Committee. Additionally, please contact Rep. Burch directly via telephone at his Frankfort office: (502) 564-8100 Extension 601, or via e-mail: Tom.Burch@lrc.ky.gov.

The software that I use to create this blog provides me, on a daily basis, with a list of the words and phrase the folks who visit this website have used (through Google or other search engines) in order to find NursingHomeReality.  Your words and phrases — a small portion of which are listed below — are a true testimony to the fact that you (and you and you) are NOT alone in having strong concerns about the care your loved one is receiving in a nursing home setting.

Affirming that you NOT alone in having your concerns is important because (and I know this from my own experience of watching out for my late mother’s interests when she was a nursing home resident) nursing home administrators, nurses and even occasionally CNA’s have a nasty habit of acting as if you (and only you) find problems with the qualty of care your loved one is receiving.  To hear their spin, ONLY YOU would dare question what they are doing (or typically, NOT doing) to care for your loved one. As you read the following search terms that were used to find this blog, remember that you are NOT alone!

work ethics in nursing homes
nursing home understaffing
how to deal with confrontation in nursing homes
my mother died in nursing home, Louisville
should nursing home staff be paid to smoke
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dishonest nurses

no confidentiality in nursing homes
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sad stories about neglected people in nursing homes
Kentucky nursing home regulations
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written up while working in nursing home

So keep asking questions!

Remain vigilent when it comes to looking out for the concerns of your loved ones living in a nursing home!

Keep on advocating for nursing home reform!

While you do these things, remember: you are NOT alone (even if nursing home employees tell you otherwise). Some of us have wondered aloud if a mannual exists to teach these folks how to lie…how to spin…how to shame and bully those of us who dare ask questions…who dare file complaints with the state…who dare challenge pathetic nursing home care. We wont be intimidated. We wont be silenced. We will continue to demand reform.

I’ve heard it said that “what goes around comes around.” Another way some religious folks express this concept is with the word “Karma”.  Call it what you like, but I think it only reasonable and just to treat others as we want to be treated ourselves.

So for our dear legislators who oppose legislation making nursing homes better, indeed safer places to live, I simply ask that you “introspect” for a moment and reflect that SOME DAY (maybe sonner than later) you (yes you) may end up in a nursing home. Who will advocate for you?  What kind of conditions will you have to deal with?  How will you feel then about what you are doing now in terms of protecting greedy nursing homes?

Maybe (never say “never”) you’ll end up like my mother (and many other individuals who have been nursing home residents) and have to wait 30 minutes, 60 minutes or even 2 1/2 hours for a CNA to take you to the restroom!  At that moment will you finally “get it” that minimum staffing regulations for the nursing home industry are not only fair, but also compassionate?

Earlier today (Sunday, 2/7/10) I received a hopeful message from “Janie” who lives in the Metro Louisville area.  She shares the following thoughts about a positive experience she had involving the nursing home where her mother currently lives…

“There is a nursing home in Louisville that, in my opinion, is a model of excellent care. It is (located in Louisville, KY — name withheld). My mom has lived there nine months and had incredible care. I credit them with bringing her back to life which her previous nursing home could not begin to manage.

I hear the frustration in the Courier-Journal (2/7/10) article and in the messages on this NursingHomeReality website. I am writing to suggest looking into a nursing home that is working well and finding out what makes it so, may offer some insight as to how to move into the positive role homes can play and are needed to play – (the nursing home where my mother lives) is such a place! I know that (this facility) is owned by (a local family) who have had the home since it’s opening. That management and mission may have a lot to do with the level of care.

When mom did have to go to the hospital once from (Nursing Home X), the staff was on top of it early and she was back and getting better within 10 days…Once back, it wasn’t minutes before she was embraced for a lengthy hug by the nurse on duty. The needed oxygen tank and breathing treatment equipment was already in mom’s room – these were items she had never had to use prior. Something is going really right at this nursing home for my mom – just wanted to offer a model as a starting ground – to maybe figure out what makes it so.”

Indeed Janie is one of several persons who have shared very positive things with me about the nursing home in question over the past few years.  I tried to arrange for admission for my mother to that same facility, but was turned down due to a decision made by management a few years ago to drop several Kentucky Medicaid-certified beds so the facility could increase the number of (Medicare and private pay) rehabilitation beds.  Also this facility did not offer a dementia unit, so they felt they could not meet my mother’s needs.  This isn’t to put down this nursing home, just to point out that while the nursing home in question is a great match for many persons, it may not be the right facility for others.  This is of course true for all nursing homes.

I believe Janie touched on a key ingredient of excellent nursing home care: ownership that is local and not part of a large, multi-state corporation. It seems that whenever these large corporations get involved, that the quality of care suffers because of the corporation’s greed.  When financial profits become more important than resident care, then the quality of resident care always suffers.

Because of the “corporate greed factor”, I have no doubt that minimum staffing requirements, as mandated by individual states, are needed now more than ever.  There are fewer and fewer locally-owned nursing homes, like the facility mentioned by “Janie”, since the overwhelming trend in the industry is for big, greedy multi-state corporations to continue gobbling them up.

I would be in favor of legislation that either mandates that all nursing homes  be owned by non-profit corporations or that for-profit nursing home corporations be limited as to how many facilities they can own. Perhaps this latter option would at least help reign in the greed factor, if not eliminate it completely.

Louisville, Ky.  40205

Nursing Home News Watch

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