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One of my favorite quips I see posted regularly on social media websites describes a reaction one can have to something that is offensive — whether in poor taste or is otherwise obnoxious. Pardon my posting this phrase, since it describes something that is not pleasant, but it goes, “I think I just puked a little in one of the corners of my mouth!”

Earlier today I got a message from a self-identified holder of a “PhD” degree who claims to have worked for the nursing home industry for many years. She was attacking this website and me personally (Why is it that ONLY persons who receive a paycheck from the nursing home industry attack my website? Imagine that! Oh wait, some of the strongest defended of this website are persons who currently or previously worked for the nursing home industry. Fascinating!). All of her comments were pathetic, but one was particularly troubling. She claimed that the nursing home industry isn’t paid enough by Medicaid (the government health insurance program that pays for most nursing home care in this country). This totally false claim really did make me want to PUKEa little in one of the corners of my mouth!” Allow me to set the record straight. Allow me to shed some light on what I call a “double-sided lie” spread by “Ms PhD” and other paid mouthpieces for the obscenely rich for-profit nursing home industry.

When it comes to for-profit nursing homes (and the corporations that own them) they ARE making money and NOT losing money. They ARE making an obscene profit off of Medicaid, Medicare, private pay and all other forms of payment they accept!  How do I know they are making money and earning a profit, despite the horribly pathetic level of “care” many for-profit nursing homes provide?

DO THE MATH! It is a matter of public record than many nursing home CEOs have annual salaries and benefits in excess of $1 Million! If they can offer that kind of compensation to even one of their corporate executives, they are making money hand over fist!

Again I say: DO THE MATH! Since it also a matter of public record, you can discover for yourself how many hundreds of thousands of dollars these corporations are donating to state and federal politicians year after year! You should also factor in the salaries and benefits of their “corporate whores” (Sorry, I meant to type “lobbyists”) who work for them year round to pressure legislators to support their self-centered political agenda!

The nursing home industry earns lots of money.  They have obscenely huge profits. This is the absolute truth.

The other side of this truth about the for-profit nursing home industry is that the spending I’ve pointed out indicates a clear pattern of mis-spending of your tax money (and that of their self-pay residents and that of the residents who have private insurance). Too much money is spent on feeding their greed and influence peddling that they can’t afford to adequately care for their residents!

So the real problem is NOT that they aren’t compensated enough, but that they desperately need to have appropriate priorities for how they spend your/our money! They are totally out-of-control and that’s why we must pro-actively suggest and support legislation that forces them to spend more of their money where it really should be spend that allows for proper resident care. This properly-focused spending begins with spending more money for nursing staff (nurses and CNAs)!

In a nutshell: When the caregiver is “for-profit” the level of care suffers…especially without appropriate government-sanctioned regulation. If ever an industry needed such regulating, it is the nursing home industry!

Many of us family members of nursing home residents have been told one (or many) lies by nursing home administrators and/or other staff members. What ever became of honesty? Whatever became of ethical behavior? Whatever became of honest chart notes? Whatever became of telling the truth at all costs? These virtues have long disappeared from most nursing homes when it comes to employee behavior.

Some of the lies we’ve heard are fairly subtle, like when you call your loved one’s nurses station and the first thing out of the mouth of the nurse who answers the phone is a line like, “I just came from your mother’s room and she is doing really well!” Did the nurse really just leave your parent’s room just before you called to check on them? Probably not. If they did that would be great. But if they didn’t? That would be a lie.

I can’t tell you how many times nursing home Administrators, Directors of Nursing and Nurses — even one nursing home owner — promised to fix a problem I had pointed out. Only to NOT have fixed the problem or to have only managed to fix the concern for a few days or a few weeks before the problem returned. Wow. These folks know how to tell us what they believe we want to hear, but what about the follow through? Nothing like the line I’ve heard many times from Administrators that goes, “Well I can’t fix a problem if I don’t know it exists.” Really. OK, I told you. The problem either didn’t get fixed or didn’t stay fixed. Yeah, I can really trust you. Not!

womantakingwrittennotesSo what can be done to confront the nursing home employees who lie? Probably the best thing we can do is DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT! Yes, it will take work and a little money to accomplish proper documentation (the cost of one or more notebooks and the cost of an ink pen), but these investments are well worth it if/when the time comes to call in the state to deal with a problem that doesn’t get fixed (a problem they promised — or promised repeatedly — to fix). When you call the state you’ll need to refer to your notes to establish that the problem was called to the attention of nursing home staff. You’ll need to verify how long the problem has been going on and the times and dates you informed nursing home staff about the problem.

Summary: Good nursing home documentation regarding care concerns should always include 1) a description of the problem, 2) the name/position of who you spoke to about the problem (You don’t know their name? Ask them for their name! Many states require that all caregivers wear a name tag at all times they are on duty. If they aren’t wearing a name tag, report that as well!), 3) when (day and time) you spoke to nursing home staff about the situation (EACH time you speak to staff about your concern) and 4) a summary of the response from nursing home staff to the information you shared.

Suggestion: While you may want to save your documentation on a digital device (e.g., a computer, tablet or a digital voice recorder), remember that data stored on any device can be lost! So if you use any sort of digital device to make a record of your documentation, be sure to PRINT OUT EVERY BIT OF YOUR DOCUMENTATION and KEEP IT IN A SAFE PLACE in case you lose your digital data!

Another important reason to DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT your conversations with nursing home management and staff goes back to the subject line of this journal entry: these people don’t tend to be oozing with honesty! So covering your tracks (and your conversations) when dealing with nursing home staff is in your best interest.

I know personally of occasions when a nursing home Administrator and a Director of Nursing LIED in their notes about what either I had told them and/or what they told me! I had a decent memory to be able to defend myself, but I really wish I would’ve had good written notes to better be able to defend myself. I know nursing home management constantly document their conversations with family members, friends and their own staff. With our own documentation available we can rest assured that one honest record of what happened will exist!

Are all nursing home staff members (or owners) pathological liars? Of course not. Many are honest individuals. Some lie only because they know that their bosses expect them to lie in order to protect the facility from lawsuits, state inspections, fines imposed by the state and other sanctions. Kudos to the brave nursing home staff members who have told the truth and paid the consequences for being honest — often times losing their job. An industry that rewards liars and persecutes honest people is in serious need for major reform!

Nursing Home News Watch

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