Friday, March 27, 2020

Coronovirus: Choices Now; Penalties Later?

Rotary's motto is "Service Above Self" and it's time more ages and stages of life understood this is not just a saying or a practice it needs to be a way of life.

If ever we were aware we are a part of a world while still being American,European, Missourians, New Yorkers, British, Irish, African etc etc it is NOW.

WHO is aware of others needs and giving not when it's convenient but when it's a challenge -- to the self?

ATTITUDE BEYOND SELF.  Giving of what you have is easy. Giving when it's a stretch, a challenge, it's taking away from what you have and may not get returned -- that is true giving, it is sacrifice.

HOARDERS.  Fear of the unknown, the uncertain, the "I (and often "mine") must survive above all are practices that are harming people unintentionally or not.

STOP BELIEVING THIS IS "NEW" -- it's everyday life for many in the United States and around the world.

While you've stocked your pantries and bought your wine there are those among us in the United States and in many places of the world who are worried about the water they drink and how they'll find food let alone afford it.

NO, IT'S NOT JUST THE OLDER POPULATION.  When you think you can "single out" a group, it can make some/many feel better and it's been done around the globe and brought us to many historical, demeaning and damaging situations -- just like a Pandemic can do.


Why does it always require someone to get first hand experience before they can think about "real" possibilities and consequences?

Out for a walk?  Say hello don't just look away. 



We are being told because we do not think about others.

We are being made to do which could rise to even higher levels if we don't "hold imaginary hands" and lead those who are still incapable of thinking beyond themselves to cause even more challenges for those who listen, have learned and understand  -- IT'S NOT ME ---- IT'S WE.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Not In "My" Lifetime -- Pandemic Does Not Compute For Many

My mother was four years old when the last pandemic hit.

She was in a small rural town that wasn't as affected as the major metropolitan areas.

Cities today are experiencing the same crisis as during her lifetime; she passed in her 100th year.

How can we convince the teens and twenty somethings of the seriousness of this situation?

Do they think it's smoke and mirrors or "made up"?

This is not within our control.

This is not hype.

This is not reality TV where someone decides how and what and where and when.

You think your're not included because the virus is currently attacking the most vulnerable?

You may be a carrier and not even know it.

We're too focused on telling the general public it's "not advisable" for an "older" citizen to travel or do many things.

Why? Because our older population confined to spaces like Long Term Care where people like myself have witnessed the poor medical care and cleanliness have taken lives before the Pandemic and now are going to move even faster and more destructive because we do not look, we do not listen and we do not ensure our older population is truly protected

That's how it starts -- getting a foothold into a weakened area and then progressing into the general population.

Viruses are like other life forms, they change (mutate) and gain strength as they grow in number and strength.

Our "enemy" is just getting started.

So you think you're so special you won't get it or by the time it "selects" your age group there will be a cure so no worries?

It's dependent on your turning your back and believing, as many of your age have done before, you're "invincible".

You Are Not.

Turn your back and you will find with so many other crisis, the attacks will come, they will reach you and you will be oblivous to its attacks because you didn't believe it would ever you.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

CBS -- Dive Deeper Into Senior LTC & COVID-19 -- You See The Most Beneath The Surface

CBS  STOP singling out the Washington State facility as if it was "unique". It's not!  

Other facilities have deaths every day and report them as "dying of old age".

Other facilities are possibly not willing or do not have the ability to see the deaths they are experiencing -- which they believe is due to the "time of year' or "weather" or :"age of resident" IS NOT.

Now we have "locked down" facilities but have staff that still moves from one facility to another and who go out into the community moving about with people who may be incubating the virus adding to the pandemic.


Seniors are required to share rooms even when their roommate is critically ill or sick with a contagious disease. 

Seniors who are atttended by CNA's move from room to room often passing by a "hand sanitizer" that doesn't do the job.

Seniors who are "handled" on a daily basis without the use of gloves moving germs, infections and other problems from bed to bed, room to room.

Many Long Term Care Facilities are in "business" to make a profit.  

Check out the auxiliary services that are owned or operated or where arrangements have been made for significant billing adjustments -- not reported to Medicaid or Insurance coverage.

Let's be real. If you control supply and demand you can sell/provide a product or service at a lower price point and if you get reimbursed, chances are the business still makes a profit beyond the cost and enabling them to build more, larger and more extensive facilities where they can be higher consumers and subject to more and deeper discounts they pass on into their pocke.

Long Term Care Facilities, even Not For Profit, providing their Board Members with payment of their Country Club Dues. This can be seen on their 990's required to be filed. What about the For Profit -- they should also have to file as they provide for the most vulnerable in our society.

Long Term Care Facilities who specifically look for "new" residents on MEDICAID that have few or little ongoing medical care that cannot be managed with drugs and needs more "personalized" hands on assistance.


This is your chance to really discover why the average amount of time a resident lives in a facility is two to three years and why so many Seniors don't want to go, even when they have no other financial choice or relatives who cannot or do not have the time to CareGive.

It's time to do an INVESTGATIVE REPORT on these sequestered incubators of disease and treatment we wouldn't give an animal. 



I've been writing about these challenges and sharing the problems on this Blog since 2012. 

How many of our valued contributors are now considered expendable?

They created so many opportunities by lighting the way and giving generations benefits they fought so hard to establish.



Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Heroes Among Us Aiding The Senior Population

Listening to the latest information being presented by the Governor of New York, my concerns are growing about the increasing amount of cases and possible need to move people from a hospital bed to another location to make room for others.

Where will they go?  Not all can go home. Many will not have the medical insurance or family members to come in and help them through and to being "healthy" again or may need "secondary care" which in the case of anyone over 60 will most probably be a decision to do "rehab" in a Long Term Care Facility.

Also, as we move through a time of uncertainty when there are closings of businesses, shortages of personal and home supplies:

How can we be certain these facilities are able to provide what this dependent society, residents living in a Long Term Care facility where food, medicine and personal care are necessary really need  . . 

When will we ensure Long Term Care Facilities ARE fully transparent with reports posted on line for all States, at least the total amount generated for the past three years, in plain language without the "jargon" used to hide violations while maintaining the privacy of the individual...

As I've discussed so many times, many of these Long Term Care or Rehab facilities are hotbeds of undisclosed medical challenges and escalating medical problems.

If we do not take this opportunity to speak up, to speak out and to work for reorganization and full accountability to the people who pay into the system, the Taxpayers, and those who are being supported by the system, through vast sums of money going to highly complex enterprises who currently have little responsibility to informing the general public -- 

We will not have learned one of the valuable lessons this challenging event called COVID-19 , Coronovirus, is giving us in bringing to light and to the surface of our society so many challenges in our medical system.

On the positive side, I've heard from some "middle aged" people how they've called Long Term Care Facilities and told them they wanted to remove their loved one, meaning a mother/father/grandparent/friend from the facility and take them into their homes. 

Yes, it's a challenge but generations before us and societies in many countries that have been hardest hit by this emergency situation, have practiced this "caregiving" for generations.  

Kudos to those who step beyond their personal comfort zone to provide caring for others; we should be talking about these on the National and International News because they, too, are the Heroes Among Us.

Yes, it's a challenge adjusting. 
Yes, it can mean more work for family members. 

It can also mean we're returning to being a caring and considerate population where instead of being self-centered, giving when it's "convenient" or brings some form of "reward", we realize it's in the giving we receive.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

ADDENDUM: St Louis Ombudsman Sends Info Residents Cannot Return If Leave Facility

CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSPERSON IMMEDIATELY.  I understand the concept behind some of these policies but also know some of them have been in place (limiting leaving a facility and potential return consideration) for decades and believe we need to lift the curtain that has been placed over the realities of Long Term Care and all Residential Care in facilities.

I just received an email from VOYCE, the name for the St Louis Missouri Region of the Ombudsman program.

Ironic it should come after my earlier today Post: Heroes Among Us Aiding The Senior Population and I aplauded those who choose to take their loved ones out of what has been proven to be a potentially dangerous environment.

There's a"threat" that if you remove a loved one from a "hotbed" of potential exposure to a killing virus YOU MAY NOT HAVE THE ABILITY FOR THEM TO RETURN to that facility. It's not new, by the way -- it's part of the LTC's way of doing business.

IT'S TIME THIS ABILITY TO "HOLD" OVER YOUR HEAD (and they do contractually) this "threat" of not being able to "go back" is looked at as dangerous to the health and well being of residents and even possibly overlooking actions on the part of staff that could be hazardous to the health of your loved one.

BTW, read carefully the contract you signed; they run a business and many of them are multimillion dollar if not billion dollar multi locations, various names, facilities.

WHEN WE ARE BEING TOLD TO LEAVE OUR OFFICES, NOT GO TO RESTAURANTS, SCHOOLS ARE CLOSED AND WE'RE NOT SURE HOW LONG THESE POLICIES ARE TO BE IN EFFECT....there is an email from AN AUTHORITY in our region, THE OMBUDSMAN organization required by Federal Law stating you can do "other things" to "keep in touch".

Why do they turn this into a "contact" reference instead of a life or death reference -- could it be because they follow the same belief -- "they're old, they're sick, they're going to die anyway....

and instead of providing hope to those who would like to ensure their loved ones have care in a very trying and unprecedented time and are removed from what has already proved in the State of Washington to be a death trap for many residents--a deadly environment -- WE AND THEY DO NOT HAVE A CHOICE

CHECK TO SEE WHAT YOUR STATE'S POLICY IS RE LONG TERM CARE AND RETURNING AFTER LEAVING....just received notification a resident cannot return if you take them out of a facility.... here's the excerpt from the email just received from Voyce St Louis:

"As Missouri grapples with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis, protecting long-term care residents has become a top priority. Unfortunately, for the near future, this includes significantly altering policies regarding visitors. Here is what you need to know regarding these temporary restrictions:
  1. Can I visit my loved one (friend or family) in an LTC facility? No, unless your loved one is in the advanced stages of hospice care and is actively passing away, visits of any kind from friends, immediate family, spouses, etc. are NOT currently permitted. Emergent hospice visits are permitted on a case-by-case basis and will likely involve strict precautions to reduce potential spread to other residents.
INSERTED NOTE:  UNDERSTANDABLE.  It's what everyone is going through.
  1. Who can enter an LTC facility? At this time, ONLY facility staff and EMT crew members are permitted to enter an LTC facility. NO visitors, non-emergency personnel, or vendors may enter.

IT WILL BE BUSINESS AS USUAL....there and many places....1 LPN TO A FLOOR-- that's all that's required --NOT RN, LPN.  And, because Certified Nurses Assistants (the people who do the grunt and let's face it, the "dirty work" in Long Term  Care Facilities-- usually work for minimum wage and usually come from below "middle class" status -- and now might be faced with having their children home from school, a partner or spouse who is "home" from work that doesn't pay if you're not working -- well, probably short staffing as is usual around holidays and other times and that is my concern there will be MORE INACCURATE REPORTING OF CAUSES OF DEATH  because facilities generally work to hide the realities and usually, as we've seen has been the case in Washington State, report the death as OLD AGE or something similar.
  1. Can a resident leave the facility? Technically, yes, a resident is permitted to leave. However, the resident will be permitted to return ONLY if the absence was for an urgent medical necessity. Any resident who leaves without urgent medical needs will be considered Against Medical Advice (AMA) and will NOT be permitted back into the residence. Please check with your Administrator for your facility's specific policies.
INSERTED NOTE:  A contract was signed. Many do not allow the ability to leave and return. Check yours. Also, isn't it time we stood up against a system that holds the elderly hostage and there is NO ONE VISITING OR SUPERVISING TO ENSURE THEIR SAFETY AND WELL BEING.  My Mom's facility still has one LPN per floor -- that's for more than 20 rooms, double occupancy. DO WE REALLY BELIEVE ONE MEDICAL PERSON CAN HANDLE THAT MANY PEOPLE?
  1. If physical visits are not possible, how can I stay connected with my loved one? Reducing the negative effects of social isolation during quarantine is incredibly important. While physical meetings with your loved one in LTC are not possible at this time, there are still ways to show love and support. Phone calls are an excellent and safe way to keep in touch. FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp, and other video chatting technologies can help simulate a face-to-face meeting and provide some comfort to both family and resident. As of now, residents may still receive mail. Hand-written letters, greeting cards, and photos can help your loved one feel connected. Further, photos and hand-written notes may help those with dementia retain memory while quarantined. 
INSERTED NOTE: Face Time, Skype and What's App require the use of a Computer. My Mother and My Friend who passed and I wrote about the neglect and abuse they both suffered in their facility in this Blog DOES NOT ALLOW RESIDENTS TO USE A FACILITY COMPUTER and very few people of the advanced age of many in Long Term Care, have been given any direction, instruction or have one OR HAVE ANY CONNECTIVITY THROUGH WI FI.
  1. Can the Ombudsman Program still advocate for the needs of my loved one in LTC? Yes! Please note that the VOYCE office is closed and Ombudsmen will not be making regular visits. However, Regional Ombudsmen can be reached via email or phone to discuss your care needs during this uncertain time.
INSERTED NOTE:  False, misleading and deceptive information with the statement VOYCE/the Ombudsman Office in the St Louis Missouri Region makes "regular visits".

Here's what they continue to "say" they provide and how many "volunteers" they have:
"In addition to guiding individuals and families as they navigate the complexity of long-term care, VOYCE speaks up for thousands of individuals in St. Louis and beyond already living in long-term care settings. Today, VOYCE provides services to nearly 22,000 individuals residing in more than 370 skilled nursing, assisted living and residential care communities. More than 50% of these individuals have no one other than VOYCE to advocate on their behalf. 

"Assuring residents’ rights and the right to quality care is the purpose of VOYCE’s Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. Staff and 50 volunteer ombudsmen are trained to identify issues, isolate particular causes of concern and skillfully resolve any challenges with compassion and respect for those living in a long-term care community. "
REALITY CHECK:  Do the math and distance covered and you'll find it's impossible for 1 "volunteer" to visit their "share" of the pie of eldercare concern in Long Term Care facilities -- the logistics for the broad range of territory also makes it impossible.  Example:  370 skilled nursing facilities; 50 volunteers; approx 22,000 residents = 440 people per volunteer FOR JUST ONE "GET ACQUAINTED" VISIT let alone more than one visit to actually accomplish resolution of a challenge brought to their attention.
ON THE WEBSITE IS STATED:  "Annually, the agency serves approximately 5,000 long-term care residents and responds to approximately 1,000 individuals and caregivers who need long-term options and services."
MATH AGAIN:  370 facilities
                               50 volunteers
                            5,000 LTC residents served annually
  MATH ANALYSIS:  5,000 residents  50 volunteers    1,000 per???
 Last time I checked there were 52 weeks in a year and 365 (except for Leap Year) days in a year. Since there are many Not For Profits (which Ombudsman/Voyce is also) that work to assist the general public re "long-term options and services" I see more of a need to VISIT AND TALK WITH ON A REGULAR BASIS residents of LTC's so that there is 
(1) A Presence of a Governmental Authority with the capability and the
      responsibility to MONITOR AND REVIEW facilities including but not 
      limited to those that are brought to their attention
More Math: With 50 volunteers each one would have as a "responsibility" of 440 potential people. These are not daily workers; they are not compensated; most do not "work" regularly; volunteers  have no authority and everything has to go back to the "paid professionals" of which there are 9.
NINE PAID STAFF. HEFTY OVERHEAD. No wonder they're always fund raising and accept donations from the very people they are supposed to be monitoring.  ISN'T THERE SOMETHING THAT SHOULD NOT ALLOW THIS AS IT SEEMS TO BE A    CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Or perhaps I should say a statement that is INACCURACT, FALSE, MISLEADING AND DECEPTIVE as the organization PRIMARILY USES VOLUNTEERS

Please reach out to VOYCE if you have any questions about resident rights duringthis time! Our staff can be reached at 314-918-8222 or toll free at 866-918-8222.

"Can a resident leave the facility? Technically, yes, a resident is permitted to leave. However, the resident will be permitted to return ONLY if the absence was for an urgent medical necessity. Any resident who leaves without urgent medical needs will be considered Against Medical Advice (AMA) and will NOT be permitted back into the res Please check with your Administrator for your facility's specific policies.

This is a National Emergency and it appears VOYCE, the name for the St Louis Missouri Area Ombudsman organization, which it also announced in a just received email, is CLOSED AND NOT VISITING LONG TERM CARE FACILITIES which will probably result in more deaths in Long Term Care facilities.

I understand the need to "quarantine" the facilities however they do not have adequate medical personnel on site and this may mean no doctors are going to be personally visiting the facility AND YOU CANNOT TAKE YOUR LOVED ONE TO BE CHECKED FOR THE VIRUS and are relying upon a system that has proven to be failing our elderly population.

WHAT DOCTORS ARE VISITING?  WHAT ACTUAL MEDICAL CARE IS BEING PROVIDED EXCEPT FOR THAT OF AN LPN (Nothing against this level of medical assistance but there's usually only one on a floor of more than twenty double room occupancy or more.

  1. Can the Ombudsman Program still advocate for the needs of my loved one in LTC? Yes! Please note that the VOYCE office is closed and Ombudsmen will not be making regular visits. However, Regional Ombudsmen can be reached via email or phone to discuss your care needs during this uncertain time.
TIME WILL TELL THE REAL STORY and I believe it will be heartwrenching.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

COVID-19 Concerns For Long Term Care Residents

Warnings? Announcements? Trial Runs? 
Are we listening? Have we learned? 
      Or do we only see with blinders on?
Maybe we're like the proverbial three "monkeys" -- 
       Hearing Nothing, Seeing Nothing, Saying Nothing?

The Emergency Broadcast System has evolved over the years from a Test Pattern to a scrolling announcement with a signature audio sound. Many ignore it as "just another" announcement that will "soon be over".

Have the years since the last medical incident been so long ago and far away that we do not place a priority on being prepared, planning for these challenges and even anticipating their arrival?

In  2019 the Medical Community planned for the wrong strain of the "regular flu" -- and now they're not prepared to handle this NEW "flu" invasion?

Let's take one incident that was reported but never really examined on the National News.

Who's questioning why so many came down with and died (and possibly are still dying) in the Long Term Care Facility in Washington State and allowed to report the deaths as "Old Age"? 

Why no investigation into Long Term Care Facilities -- esp now that so many are going to Continuum of Care meaning providing living facilities across the spectrum of aging --
         Independent, Assisted, Long Term and Dementia.

The Stats for this medical condition need to be accurate and that includes inside Long Term Care Facilities

How many are dying in other Long Term Care Facilities and their deaths, as with the LTC in Washington State has admitted, been reported as "death due to old age"?  

           And -- stating publicly that this "cause of death" has
                      been and is their policy for all deaths in the 

Not heart attacks? Not Cancer?
    Not other serious medical conditions?

Death is To Be Expected and usual...they'll tell Long Term Care....

In reality -- 

People who reside in LTC are there for a reason -- 
it's usually because they cannot manage by themselves, the cost of "individualized care" is beyond their or their family's abilities or they have no place else to go or "someone" has convinced them that's "where they belong".

CHALLENGE:  We have systems, like "The Ombudsman" -- called by other names in many areas -- that relies on "volunteers" and does not have enough people to "assign" any one person to any facility on a regular basis -- not even once a month.

CHALLENGE:  There is no full disclosure or transparency and many of these are privately owned businesses.

It's a Call To Action we need to hear from those in positions where changes can be made.

LOOK, LISTEN,TAKE ACTION...It's an Election Year...Ask those running for election what they're going to do to ensure our elderly population is protected and supported

And a word to the Gen X'ers -- some of you are of an age where "they" (the medical community) could send you for rehab to a "facility" where elderly people also reside. 

Maybe if you see, hear and feel when you're less than what you usually are you may begin to see "the light" of the real crisis in Long Term Care and work to change "the system" and "the laws".

The Bell of Awareness is ringing; are our headphones and earbuds on so well that we cannot hear the cries and calls of those we love, have loved and should love and care about?