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!

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