Thursday, April 17, 2014
Going Back To Mom's SNC; Seeing Others Being Neglected/Abused
OPENING STATEMENT: We've been there; we've gone to almost every level possible in our State with complaints including the DHSS, Ombudsman, Elder Abuse Hotline. All that results is a "show of interest" without any visible actions ensuring continuing adjustment and correction that's lasting.
As for an interest in the problems or people . . . it's an interest only in showing a response has been made and attempt to recognize the problem(s) without continuing follow through and the most important result: publically published reports in plain language on one website with dates, names and locations of facilities and violations itemized in a format that's easy to read, easy to access and easy to compare and for more than one month or year "at a glance".
Yesterday my daughter and I visited Mom's old facility to be with a woman who's much younger than most of the population and has been in a SNC for quite a few years.
She needs someone to talk with; someone to confide in outside of the facility. It's obvious she can speak for herself but she also suffers from being "targeted" when she does; reduction of privileges and being treated with less "positive rewards" if she does. Our friend has no family in the area and the closest relative lives almost a thousand miles away.
Mary (not her real name) was telling us how no one came to help her out of bed; she wears braces on her legs and needs assistance getting out of bed and into her wheelchair. No one helped her to get clothes and get dressed. She waited an hour and a half for someone to come to her room and help her get to the toilet. When she was taken to the toilet, she was left "sitting" for so long she felt her legs going to sleep and tried to get up by herself, resulting in falling.
QUESTION: "Mary" fell. Report was probably generated. Who do you think was claimed to be responsible? "Mary" of course. Who was really responsible? An overworked Aide who cannot be in two places at the same time and who will most probably, like so many others, either burn out or go somewhere else where they think it's better and then find out it's the same.
"Mary" was walking when we first met her but when we started to work with her to leave the facility under Missouri's program of "Money Follows The Person" to move to a higher level (independent living), "Mary's" life became altered. She was "removed" from her volunteer job in the small "store" on property. Activities seemed to be reduced for her. The attention she received and the assistance became slower and slower in being provided; some might have been due to lack of staff but from the Nursing staff, most probably this was due to "the word" of her possible departure became known.
"Mary" had many problems with getting special shoes and braces replaced when they broke and spent months in a wheelchair waiting, waiting and waiting and then receiving "incorrectly sized" shoes that had to be "redone" resulting in more "confinement" to the wheelchair and more dependency on "facility assistance. Of course, the Independent Living place she was trying to move to required she not be in a wheelchair so the longer she "stayed" in the chair, the more possibility she would remain -- as she is today -- and this was approx. a year ago.
This inactivity led to atrophy of muscles necessitating, of course, on site Rehab, at more cost to Medicare/Medicaid, to try to help her "rebuild" what never should have deteriorated or been affected. More income for the facility; more challenges for the resident. Our tax dollars being used to provide services that were "necessitated" by what, exactly? The resident's "need" or the resident's need due to negligence or even to abuse?
BUT HOW DO YOU "PROVE" THIS AMOUNT OF NEGLECT AND RETALIATION?
The facility is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. They've been in the business of providing "elder healthcare" at all levels for most of those years. They know the State inside and out and the legislation. They know how to "walk the line" and "bend the system" and "cover their tracks". Most of all, they know the State's bark is worse than its bite and in reality they will issue a reprimand in a written report which allows the facility to "correct" the situation. The facility will appear to change, for a couple of months, and then it's back to the same behaviors, systems and procedures.
We will continue to publish these insights.
We will continue to challenge families and those on the path to the day when they may have to "survive" Long Term Care facilities.
We will continue to seek and find information that enlightens and works to bring about change.