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A reader from central Illinois shared the following nursing home horror story with us.  A few details have been removed from the following account in order to protect the resident (the writer’s father) from being involuntarily evicted from the facility. Many nursing homes over the years have falsifed resident’s chart entries and other documentation in order to justify kicking a resident out — this is all done in retaliation for reporting problems to the state, news media and other sources (like this blog) for telling the truth about the shameful abuse, abandonment, neglect and outright negligence that goes on in nursing homes.

My father is in a nursing home in central Illinois. He suffers from several conditions that no longer allows my mother to be his caregiver as she was for many years. Because of repeatedly falling she had no choice but to have him admitted to a nursing home.

The nursing home we chose seemed to have a warm home feeling when we walked in. The administration talked up about how much they would take care of my father. The reality is this sales pitch was a bunch of BS!

My mother CONSTANTLY walks in and his catheter bag is not on right, therefore not draining properly. She constantly finds him with food all down the front of him because he has trouble feeding himself. Today (and several other times recently) he was wet and had urine running down his leg and on his sock and no one apparently was going to do anything about it until my mother said something.

My dad is falling out of bed more and more, so my mother asked if a CNA could stay in his room off and on through the night to make sure his is safe, The Administrator said no: CNA’s will not stay with any residents at night. Further she stated that if we didn’t think he was being properly taken care of that we can take him right on out of there. She appently has NO clue as to the detrimental affects to change the environment it could have on a individual with my father’s diagnoses.

Honestly I just want to yell and screem at nursing home management and ask them, when the day comes that they become a nursing home resident, would they want to sit in their own urine?  Do they want to go hungry because their condition prevents them from feeding themselves properly? What if they didn’t know how to use the call button and they crapped in their pants and sat in it for who knows how long! How would they feel?

Government needs to step in and make it mandatory to add more CNA’s and hold nursing homes accountable for the lack of staff, especially on weekends. Nursing home’s should train their staff better before allowing them to care for patients. I can’t tell you how many CNA’s taking care of my father do not know how to properly attach a leg catheter bag. That is pathetic!

Don’t get me wrong, there are several CNA’s that do take care of my dad and do a wonderful job and we praise and thank them every day they are working. I’m just so angry at the Administrator and the government for not putting higher standards in place.

My parents do not qualify for Mediciad and they are paying $148.00/day for my father’s care. We just want him properly taken care of. This is not too much to ask!

A few observations:

— While I don’t know of any nursing home that would provide a CNA to stay in a resident’s room throughout the night in order to make sure the resident is safe from falling (that would be cost prohibitive), nonetheless ALL nursing homes can do one or more of the following things to reduce the risk of resident falls and/or minimize the physical harm caused by falling out of bed:

1) Make sure the resident is attached to or lays on a bed alarm — and make sure it is tested regularly (if it is battery operated) to make sure the battery and alarm are working. These alarms can not prevent falls from taking place, but they can IMMEDIATELY alert staff as to when a resident has fallen or is at risk for falling. Nursing home staff must take seriously their responsibility to respond to bed alarms.
2) Provide the resident with what is commonly referred to as a “high-low bed” — this is a bed that can be lowered when the resident is sleeping so as to minimize the distance between the resident and the floor, thus significantly reducing the amount of physical injury the resident could experience if they do manage to fall out of bed. As always, it takes competent nursing home staff to remember to LOWER the bed when the resident is ready to sleep.
3) In addition to providing a bed alarm and high-low bed, some facilities will also have staff place a type of mattress on the floor next to one or both sides of the bed (next to one side if the bed is placed next to a wall on one side) to also reduce the potential of injury if a resident falls out of bed. However these mattresses are a potential hazard for nursing home staff and others as they can cause falling if they are not noticed. Many a person, CNA and otherwise, has been injured by tripping on these items.
4) If, for any reason, a nursing home resident is incapable of feeding themselves it is the responsibility of the facility to provide staff to assist with feeding. Failure to provide this assistance is criminal!

Above all, I want to encourage this family member to contact the local long-term care Ombudsman to report their concerns and — in the process of making their concerns known — speak to the Administrator to give them formal notice that the problems noted above have been documented by the family and must be addressed. If all else fails, then the family needs to (if they haven’t already) notify the Illinois state agency charged with nursing home regulation.

Nursing Home News Watch

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