Showing posts with label Guilderland Center Nursing Home. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guilderland Center Nursing Home. Show all posts

Monday, July 23, 2012

Where I've Been--Findng Out About Nursing Homes

My 94-year-old mother, who we call Ama, fell requiring a trip to the hospital.  The doctor suggested a nursing home.  While she has been living on her own with assistance from her children, falling has increased along with failing memory. None of us three kids have the proper facilities at home (or the money to change that) or the 24 hour care that is needed. 

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.

This was my mother's call button for the first couple of days.  The one on the wall was broken.

 This is a photo of the "fixed call button."  It may be a bit hard to see, but it's a piece string on the wall that was too short. The fix was to tie a piece of braided polypropylene rope to the end to pull for assistance.

There was a hole in the wall the first day.  Our complaint about the general state of the room did get this patch the next day.
It stayed like this for the next few days that my mother was there.  Here are a few pics of other areas of the walls.

 And the floors.

I watched the woman--a nice, polite lady--wash these floors, swabbing the mop back and forth.  These pictures are after it was cleaned.  For some reason, despite the wiping of the floor, our shoes were sticking to the floor.

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.

Those spots in there were mostly cleaned out with Clorox wipes I brought from home after seeing the place.  In fact, most of the room was cleaned up with Clorox wipes--chair (only one in the room for two residents), armoire, drawers, walls, etc.    Fortunately for my mother, we live close enough to be able clean up a bit.

These are the armrests of the wheelchair Ama was given.
Well, I'll just show one pic.  Both armrests were in this condition.  There were rough edges on some of those cracks.  Many elderly people have paper thin skin that is easily damaged.  Their skin also tends to recover much more slowly.  My mother is one of them.  This issue is especially important since I saw residents sitting in wheelchairs for hours on end in the time I was there.  That's lots of time for delicate skin rubbing on these rough surfaces.

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.
We were able to get my mother transferred to another nursing home.  It's clean and much better run.  Still, they only shower residents once a week.  That can be moved up to twice a week at the family's request.  Sponge baths at the new nursing home also seem to consist of getting the resident to wash up.  I'm in awe of this.  I cannot imagine not being able to bathe daily.  I still cannot wrap my mind around it.  We will get there to bathe my mother as often as we can.  That is allowed.  The family can do it if they wish. 

 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.