Sunday, May 26, 2019

Will Carol Survive Until Her Birthday?

Truth be told, I've not been visiting Carol like I did for many months. It brings back memories of when my mom was in the same facility. The lies. The half truths. The watching Carol die a little more each day not because she's that sick but because what is not being done for her and instead done to her is taking her life an inch at a time.

Reported to DHSS about the overmedication of anti psychotics including possibility some meds caused Carol's hands first to tremor and then a couple of months ago to "freeze" into not clenched fists but "frozen" in claw like shapes without any ability to use her hands.

Facility was given a "slap on the wrist". 

She can't feed herself.

She's "offered food" but often cannot talk.

The food is pureed and looks like something that comes out of you instead of goes into you and imagine the taste is almost as bad.

Carol refuses the food. The LTC sees this as "the end" -- it's been going on for a very long time and the only thing that keeps her alive is the weight she had and that will soon be gone.

She doesn't refuse what we bring to her. She's starving. It's evident to us but others claim it's typical "last stages; end of life". They don't take the time and they don't care. They convinced her to go into Hospice telling her if she doesn't want to go back to the hospital, that was the only decision she could make.

What about the Department of Health and Senior Services?  What about the Elder Abuse Hotline?

They say their hands are tied. A Dr has prescribed the medications and one rep told me if a Dr prescribes medication it's because it's needed.  SUGGEST that person look at the latest Stats for LTC's and Medical Professionals abuse of drugs both personally, professionally and prescriptions.

From a recent AARP article:

"Nearly four of every five prescriptions are written by primary care doctors and specialists untrained in psychiatry who are dispensing powerful drugs that may have either no impact or harmful effects."

How would you like to be "used" when you're no longer a profit center because you need more daily care for toileting etc?  Remember how they convinced Carol -- they knew she didn't want to go to the hospital (and that took away from their bottom line).

It's challenging to find information on the net about this "practice" because older people are "expected" to die and so when they do -- well, that's just what happens. Is it? Or is it more profitable in the short term for the increased costs, less care and then when the bed "vacates" another ability to fill it with someone who needs less care.

The following is from a publication of the California Advocates For Nursing Home Reform:

"In my experience when a patient is certified for hospice, the hospice provider routinely orders rental of an expensive hospital bed and various expensive breathing apparatuses whether the patient needs it or not, and bills accordingly. Once the patient’s hospice category is set, and the reimbursement set accordingly, of course profit goes up if that care can be provided by fewer personnel or in less time, just like in a nursing home and other businesses, and the least able and most vulnerable among us can be treated accordingly."

"A second important reason for long times on hospice for people who are not on the verge of dying is that they are very good business for hospice providers. See, e.g., “Medicare Rules Create a Booming Business in Hospice Care for People Who Aren’t Dying,” Washington Post, Dec. 26, 2013.

"The Hospice Halo Is Not Always Holy

"Hospices, just like nursing homes, sometimes make tragic mistakes. Hospices, like nursing homes, exploit the Medicare payment system, and exploit their own hard working and dedicated nurses, to make money, sometimes at the expense of patient care."

I had a CNA who asked me why I was "treating her that way" when she "took care of my mother" -- she was referring to the staff having to provide more 'hands on" and being "blamed" for the reports generated through the DHSS and Abuse Hot Line.

I did not make the decisions about how many staff were on the floor for each shift and cut back so that there was one CNA to a hallway of double occupancy rooms. The facility would counter it was the "graveyard" shift and residents would be sleeping. Actually, the only way they would be sleeping for many of them would be through a narcotic induced sleep and I'd watched many of them sleeping and in bed morning, afternoon and evening -- falsely believing they were "sick" or "so old" this was just how they "lived". And it was various times, daytime and night, I'd not seen but one CNA for an entire 1/2 floor of over twenty beds.

I'm disgusted when I look at the Form 990 reports; Carol's facility is a Not For Profit. What I've seen are expenses paid for "executives" memberships to Country Clubs and end of year bonuses given staff -- while residents went without.

I've tried to find out why there's not an Ombudsman assigned to this facility but all I hear is they "don't have enough volunteers" -- that's another area worth looking into in your area -- it may use another name so contact your Area Agency on Aging.

When will we understand we are all subject to this mistreatment and to our lives and those of people we love being forever changed when we fail to speak up, to check it out and to cry out for all to hear about our most vulnerable populations subjected to being treated like less than an animal and without the value we give to children.

What are you willing and able to do to stop the abuse of elderly in Long Term Care?

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