My nursing home horror story
In my line of work, I have seen and heard many nursing home stories. I have a lot of experience helping families use a Reverse Mortgage to supplement the cost of long term care or nursing home care.
My recent experience is more disturbing that anything I had previously heard. My Mom has been taking care of my Dad at home with the help of occasional outside caregivers and some family members. He is bedridden with multiple problems including mild vascular dementia.
My Mom needed to have surgery and the surgeon said she could not take care of my Dad for at least two weeks while she recovered from the surgery. We live in Vestavia and there was a new top of the line facility near our home, which made the decision simple. My Dad was transferred there by ambulance on a Monday morning about 10:00 a.m. My Mom left about 1:30 p.m. to take care of some business before her surgery. She was assured that Dad would be served some lunch. She returned about 6 p.m. and found that he had not been moved or changed since he got there that morning. Lunch and dinner trays were on the bed table and he was trying to eat but in such a position that he could not get food in his mouth. He yelled with pain when Mom tried to let down his bed. He said he had been like that since his bed was raised for lunch. My Mom sent the aide who finally replied to the call light out for the head nurse. She returned with the administrator who happened to be on the floor. After my Mom finished talking with him about the deplorable state of care that day, he apologized and said he would check into it. She has never heard from him or seen him again.
Over the next couple of days my sisters and I took turns staying with Dad during the day. Very rarely did anyone step in the room unless we asked for someone to change him or position him. Meals were very erratic and always cold. One morning he didn’t get any breakfast. No one checked. There were no rails on the bed and when my Mom asked what was to keep him from falling out, she was told that the bed was always in the position closest to the floor and rubber mats on each side of the bed. My Dad was there 6 days and we never saw rubber mats and only one time did I see the bed left in the lowest position.
We tried to rotate friends and family visits so that the employees would know we were aware. We thought he was safe at night since he had medication to help him sleep and was usually quiet all night.
On Friday though, the nursing home called, he fell out of bed. No one was aware he was on the floor until the nurse went to give his bedtime medicines. He said he had screamed for help a long time and no one came. No one knew how long he had been on the floor or why the bed was in the high position. Of course, no rubber mats were in evidence. He had a trip to the ER, a CT scan that fortunately showed no major damage and was returned to the facility. My Mom sat up with him all night and not one employee checked on him all night long, even though he had just returned from the hospital with a head injury.
As soon as we could line up caregivers around the clock, we had him moved back home. The ambulance driver wasn’t surprised by our story. He said he had delivered patients to the nursing home in the morning and had the family call him to take the patient back home the same day; he also had a name for the facility that sounds like the name, but it means passed away! Needless to say, the newest, most expensive nursing home facility is not the best.