With less than 24 hours notice, our local Veteran's hospital transferred her to the Guilderland Center Nursing Home. Online reviews were scary. A May, 2012 Boston Globe report on overmedication showed that this nursing home was the second highest in our area Region in over medicating with sedatives. By the second day, there was a note on file that a doctor had prescribed two doses of the generic form on Xanax to be given every day because Ama was upset her first night there. The only reason we found out was that we asked why she was suddenly so groggy.
I'm going to share a few pictures of the facility.
There was no shower for the room, just a single toilet shared by four residents in two adjoining rooms. The lock on my mother's room's side was broken. There was a sink in the room. The shower was down the hall.
The drawers still had things from the last resident.
These are the armrests of the wheelchair Ama was given.
In any case, can you imagine having having to sit in a wheelchair for hours. Many had fallen asleep, slumped to the side. I'd show pics, but I understand that it's not legal to take pics of other people in these places.
Did you know that nursing homes here in New York are only required to bathe residents once a week? Sponge baths are supposed to be given the rest of the days. Sponge baths at Guilderland Center Nursing Home consisted of leaving a washcloth and hand towel on a table. Again, we were fortunate that we were close enough to assist in caring for my mother until we could find another place for her.
I stayed until almost 9 on Ama's last night there. A few of the experiences in that time:
- A plate cover fell off the meal cart. I watched an aide pick it up off the floor and put it back on the plate.
- I watched a man sitting outside my mother's room begging for assistance getting into bed. He was literally saying, "Please help me. I'm begging you." He told me he was so exhausted he thought he might fall out of his wheelchair and he had a terrible headache. I finally went to get him some assistance. I had to call to someone in the room behind the nurses station, who replied, "Okay" to my request for someone to help the man. I told he help was coming and walked into my mother's room. I then heard someone calling that she was going on break. The man, looking so very sad, turned to tell me it was the nurse. Sure enough, I watched her walk away down the hall. It was well over a half an hour before he got assistance. That was just the time I saw him in the hall. He had been buzzing for help with no response before he finally went into the hallway.
- I listened to buzzers ringing continuously all the time I was there. One worker finally yelled, "If they don't stop ringing those bells!" My mother could not get assistance getting to the bathroom on her first night there and soiled herself. They wrote in her files that she was incontinent and put adult diapers on her. I wonder how many others are listed as incontinent because of insufficient staff to answer calls for assistance.
I'm still sick at heart for those people who are still at the Guilderland Center Nursing Home without family to help, though. Hell, I'm sad for people in nursing homes who only get to shower once a week. I'm sad for my mother and scared for myself, my husband, siblings, and my children that this could be our eventual fate. What to do about all this?? I don't know know where to start.