Complaining about a Nursing Home can get you banned from a facility.

It is our right to complain if we notice something faulty. My Elder makes sure that your loved ones are protected and are given quality care by nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

 

Let’s face it. Substandard nursing homes, do not like complaints from pesky relatives who are looking for quality care and are constantly complaining about those issues that are common in these facilities like:

Poor staffing
Dehydration
Loss of weight
Falls
Bad medical care
Evictions without cause
Poor infection control
Lack of meaningful activities

Mary Jo Gleason was beside herself this past January. She was crying all the time and had no idea what to do. She had not seen her mom, Jeanie for two weeks. Jeanie was in a very poor New York nursing home. She has been there for a year, after a hospital stay for a fracture of the hip.

Mary Jo visited often and therefore, got to witness the poor care of her mom’s poor care and the other residents on a daily basis. Although she complained often and loudly, the bad care persisted. In May 2012, an aide tried to get Jeanie out of bed by herself instead of calling for assistance. The aide lost her footing and down Jeanie went, fracturing her hand. What happens so often in these cases, is that an aide will not report an incident out of fear of losing her job. No physician was consulted. No accident report was filed. No x-rays were ordered. No notation was recorded on the chart.

This fall occurred in the evening at about 9 P.M. and although Jeanie was in much pain, no one noticed or checked why she had pain. The next day was Jeanie’s monthly visit. Like most physician visits in Nursing Homes, the physician came into Jeanie’s room at 6 A.M. for about 3 minutes, did not notice that she had pain in her hand, and moved on to his other visits.

Mary Jo came to visit mom after work at 5:30 P.M. Jeanie was in a lot of pain, but could not express it. She noticed right away that her mom was in pain and that her hand was black and blue. She alerted the nursing staff, who it seems had no idea (the blue wall of silence, nursing home aide’s style), what had happened. The x-ray was done, the physician called, and the nursing supervisor claimed that Jeanie must have fallen out of bed.

The staff at this nursing home were very upset with Mary Jo. The care got worse, Jeanie had another fall. She developed bad bedsores and had to be rushed to the hospital with dehydration. Mary Jo could take it no longer. She made a fatal mistake. Just the type of mistake that this horrible facility was looking for.

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Mary Jo was overheard by two witnesses, say to one supervisor, “ If this is the type of care that my mom is going to receive, I might as well put a pillow over her face and suffocate her.” Mary Jo was barred from this facility because the facility considered her a danger to her mother and possibly to others. Even though everyone knew very well that this was just the utterance of a very frustrated person, whose mom was being neglected and abused at this facility.

My Elder was retained to take on this case. As is often the case with My Elder clients, we are called in when things are really bad. We went to see the administrator and informed him that only a court order can bar someone from visiting a close relative. The facility was breaking a number of Federal Laws. We also suggested that they could be held liable for separating a resident from her much-needed support if that separation leads to a harmful outcome.

Rather than having me in the facility, breathing down his back, the administrator agreed to my compromise. Mary Jo would be allowed to visit for a few hours, with supervision. We suggested to Mary Jo that if she witnesses bad care, she should call 911 and have her mom taken to the hospital, which she did a week later when she noticed that her mother was having a problem urinating. It was due to a urinary tract infection.

Jeanie spent 4 days in the hospital. I would not allow the hospital to send her back to the substandard nursing home she was in. I had her transferred to an excellent facility where she is receiving great care. Mary Jo was very happy because she could spend her time at the new facility with her mom, rather than spend it fighting with the staff about the bad care.

My Elder provides elder advocacy services to families. Talk to us about long-term planning, finding the right home for your loved ones, preventing crisis and abuse, and ensuring they receive the best care possible.