Did you know that Nursing Homes PICK and CHOOSE their patients?!?

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My story is not an isolated case. Nursing homes in Onondaga County are either under staffed with unacceptable care, or above the rest and have a right to pick and choose who they will help and who they will deny care to. This is in my opinion, elderly neglect.

What happened to the days when a healthcare facility had to help a patient, especially when that patient had the funds available either privately, or through Medicare/Medicaid?? When did Nursing Homes acquire the right to deny a patient because there would be too much work involved to make them better for short term stay rehabilitation? Is this the way our country has decided to diminish the elderly population? Unless you are mobile and fairly self sufficient, with minimal care, or have one foot in the grave where you can be left in a bed 24 hours a day, the better nursing homes in this area will refuse to help you.

My father has been refused by Syracuse Homes and Birchwood Nursing home numerous times after being in the hospital and needing rehabilitation to get him strong again so he could come back home. Today he was refused again by both places. They don't have to give the discharge planner at the hospital a reason. If you call on your own, they use the excuse that they have no male bed available.

Dad has been sick on and off for the past 3 years. Congestive Heart Failure, and fluid buildup around his lungs which makes it hard for him to breathe. He has been taken to the Emergency Room three times in the past 4 weeks.

My father was in the hospital for almost 2 weeks the end of June. After the hospital diminished the fluid and he was better, he needed short term rehab at a nursing home to get stronger. Birchwood refused him. Our second choice (they do give you a choice, not that it does any good) was Syracuse Home. Syracuse Home agreed to take my father, all the paper work with the discharge planner was filled out. My father was to be transported to Syracuse Home on Thursday July 3rd at 11:00am. At 10am, the hospital got a call from Syracuse Home saying they were delaying the transport till 2pm. My brother and I got to the hospital at noon, got my dad dressed and ready to go. He was excited about getting out and going somewhere that he would not only get better but enjoy himself at the same time. At 1:00pm the discharge planner came in and said that Syracuse Home had to postpone my dads transport till Monday July 7th. We never did get a direct answer why. For the next 4 days, my father sat in a hospital room with minimal care. No physical therapy of any kind, his vitals checked and food brought in.
On Monday, July 7th he was scheduled to be transported at 2:00pm. Once again we went to the hospital and got him dressed and ready to go. This time at 1:00pm a nurse came into his room and said Syracuse Home changed their mind and denied my father care. Again, no explanation why! We had to choose another home.

Before I go any further I should explain that my dad had already been in Loretto, St. Camillus, The Crossing and Iroquois Nursing homes at different times for rehab. While being in all of these places, his health deteriorated instead of getting better so we could bring him home. The physical therapy departments in these nursing homes are useless. They make no effort to get a patient strong and back on their feet.

The Crossing pumped my father full of so much pain medication he couldn't move on his own if he wanted too. That was after having a knee replaced, he wasn't even sick.

Loretto was so short staffed, there was never a nurse or aid around when you needed one. The rooms were depressing, and the PT again was useless to anyone that was trying to get better.

St. Camillus was the same as the others. Short staffed, patients were neglected and whenever you asked a question, you couldn't get a straight answer.

Iroquois was a little more attentive and the staff (aides and nurses) did a decent job for the amount of people they had to tend too. The administration on the other hand was a nightmare. We repeatedly asked that my father be taken off of insulin. He has never needed it and it makes him sick and his dementia gets worse when he's on it. The doctor refused to listen to my brother who is my dads health care proxy. He hung up the phone on my brother and refused to talk to him. Administration first told us the insulin was stopped, when all the while he was still getting it. Physical therapy told my father and my brother and I that dad would never be able to walk with his cane again and would be lucky if he could get around with a walker. Needless to say we pulled my father out of the home and brought him home and within 3 days he was up walking around with his cane again.

We took my father out of each of the above nursing homes while watching him regress health wise instead of getting better. My heart goes out to the elderly people that are confined in these homes with no family or family that doesn't care and never monitors their treatment. Now back to the story:

We were told by the discharge planner at the hospital that Sunnyside Nursing home had an available bed and would take my father. This was a new home that he hadn't been to yet and we really had no other choice because he was too weak to come home where we could take care of him. After another day of sitting around in the hospital he was transported to Sunnyside on Tuesday July 8th. The home seemed ok after looking around and inspecting it. Most of the staff seemed friendly and caring. My father was to receive physical therapy and occupational therapy. The occupational therapy never happened. His doctors orders were he was to keep moving and when sitting for long periods of time his legs were to be elevated so he would not suffer the fluid buildup again. Within 4 days, dads legs started to swell. I continually mentioned this to the staff because my father was left sitting in a wheelchair or laying in bed constantly and his legs were never elevated. I visited my dad once a day, sometimes twice. NEVER once did I go there where I didn't find him in a soaking wet or soiled adult diaper, and his pants and shirt wet with urine. Each time I called in someone to change him I would sit and watch as they peeled off the soiled diaper and put a clean one on without once washing the stale urine from my fathers body. Would they treat their own bodies this way?

My father started getting depressed and his dementia was getting worse. I was concerned that due to the neglect in hygiene he might be getting a urinary track infection. I requested that a sample be tested and was told the doctor in charge would have to give the okay for a sample to be taken. Another 3 days pass with no urine test and my fathers legs were swelling more and more. They measured his legs every morning, yet did NOTHING to try and stop the fluid buildup. He was still left sitting in a wheelchair without his legs elevated.

During the second week of his stay at Sunnyside, I went to visit him and found him sitting in the dining room, soaking wet once again. I wheeled him to his room and proceeded to undress him to clean him up and put fresh clothes on. When I removed his wet diaper, I found blood on the front of it. I finally had had enough, to put me over the edge. I demanded to see the nurse in charge. She came in with a male aide, and I told them to explain to me why there was blood not only on my fathers diaper but on his penis. The male aide looked at my father and said "Oh, it looks like he might have cut himself with the sharp edge of the urine bottle he was trying to use." Excuse me????? This cheap plastic bottle had a ragged sharp edge on it, yet was given to an 87 year old man to use. I then voiced every complaint I had to the nurse in charge, who agreed with me. She made notes of my complaints, which the home had an excuse for everything even though there was no excuse that would be acceptable to the neglect my father was receiving. 45 minutes of physical therapy in the morning, and 23 hours of the remainder of the day left sitting in a wheelchair sleeping. No effort by anyone to get him off his feet for a short walk throughout the day to keep him moving so the fluid would not go back to his heart and lungs unless my brother or I got him up.

We had our meeting with the nurses, social worker and administration on Monday July 21st. We voiced our concerns and complaints, that nursing homes mottos are to maintain a patients health or make them better so they can come home. Neither was done. We then decided my father would get better care from my brother and I at home and we would take him to outpatient physical therapy. He was to be discharged the next day in our care. At 6am, Tuesday July 22nd (the day we were to take him home) my brother received a phone call from Sunnyside saying that my father had difficulty breathing during the night and they had sent out for a chest X-ray to be done. The X-ray was taken at 8am. I went directly to the nursing home after hearing the news to be with my dad and start packing up his things. It took over 4 hours for the results of the X-ray to be faxed. The nurse pulled me aside and said the X-ray shows Congestive Heart Failure and fluid around your fathers lungs. She wanted to know what I wanted to do. I looked at her and said you're kidding me right? Call an ambulance NOW, and get him to the Emergency Room!!!
He was taken to the ER and more tests were done. The doctor in the ER said they would keep him overnight and try to get rid of as much fluid as they could. We were to come pick him up in the morning. The neglect of Sunnyside, sent my father back into the hospital in worse shape then when he left 2 weeks earlier. I have filed a formal complaint against them with the Department of Health, and they are doing an investigation.

Dad was home with us for seven days. He was going to outpatient therapy and back to his adult daycare at Silver Fox which is one of the best places for elderly people to go. The staff is wonderful, the place is beautiful and they truly care about each and every one of their members like they were their own parents. I can't say enough good things about them. My father was on lacix to keep the fluid down, and we constantly had his legs elevated when he was sitting or resting. Even with our effort 100% of the time, because all of the fluid was not dissolved in his overnight stay at the ER, it built back up in his chest and lungs again. On Friday August 1st, while dad was at the daycare, he was having chest pains. The girls immediately called 911 and my father was taken back into the hospital. Congestive Heart Failure and fluid in and around his lungs. He is still in the hospital as of today, and I have never seen him in such bad shape. He is left sleeping most of the day in bed, he's weak and his dementia is worse then it's ever been. Physical therapy comes in early in the morning and wakes him from a sound sleep, then expects him to stand up after he's been laying down for hours and hasn't even had breakfast yet. They then write in their reports that he is too weak to receive therapy. These are the same reports the nursing homes see when the hospital no longer wants responsibility for a patient and gives you the choices of nursing home rehabs.

Back to square one. Our choices were Birchwood and Syracuse Home. We were told this morning that both places have once again denied my father. He is too weak for us to bring him home, we would never be able to get him up the 3 stairs to get into the house. What choices do we have now??? Send him back to one of the places who neglected to keep him healthy when he was there before, or try to take him home where we can keep him clean and fed but do not have the medical equipment or knowledge to monitor his health so he doesn't suffer CHF again.

Now, I ask you....how can these nursing homes be allowed to pick and choose their patients? Don't they have any compassion for the elderly that really need them? Are they afraid because a patient has a family that cares and monitors their parents care, that they will be exposed for the same kind of neglect other nursing homes have been exposed of?? Are they too lazy to take any patients that need a little extra care and attention? Is this now our country's way of disposing of the elderly due to the lack of good healthcare available in nursing homes? These establishments are paid good money to do their jobs, yet they do only the minimal with a shortage of staff. Read the obituaries and see how many elderly people are dying in these nursing homes. Are the families closing a blind eye, or are they afraid to speak out for fear of further neglect to their loved one? I do not want my father to be another statistic. I want him to be healthy as he is capable of being, and I expect the nursing home that he is a short term resident of to do their job. Is that asking too much?

We are all going to be in this situation at some time during the rest of our life cycle. After seeing what my father is going through, I would rather die healthy then put my daughter through this trauma and heartache. It's a disgrace that nursing homes can deny patients for whatever reason. They are supposed to be here to help all elderly people. If we don't start raising our voices, it will never get any better. I can only pray that there are still decent people in Onondaga County that work at these nursing homes who will do something about the discrimination to our elderly community.

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I personally was denied care because of an accusation made against me at the hospital I am staying at. The facility denied me care even knowing the hospital issued a formal written apology clearing me of any wrong doing. Since then, I have received sub-standard care at the hospital and am unable to find a sub-acute facility that will accept me for short-term rehab. What gives? Do I have any legal recourse? Signed- Frustrated in Limbo
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One has to remember when an elder goes to the hospital and it is time to transfer them to a rehab/long-term-care, the hospital will send the patient to the first place that has an open bed. Remember, health insurance companies want the patient out of the hospital as soon as they are ready, thus to help cut down on infections.

The rehab/long-term-care facility may not be the place you wanted, and you can freely move the elder to some place else once a bed opens up. But you would need to pay out of pocket for the transport service.

I was lucky, my Mom got assigned a bed at a fairly new rehab/long-term-care facility less than a mile from home, which made it easy for my Dad and the caregivers to drive him there. Mom got excellent care from what I could see since her condition was nonrecoverable.

There wouldn't be any way that Mom could be taken care at their home, plus it would have been too emotional and heartbreaking for Dad to witness the delirium and that fact that Mom could no longer stand up [all this from a major fall head trauma because Mom refused to use a walker].
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dharrison, these are issues to keep at the forefront of you mind as you decide who to vote for -- on all levels -- this fall.
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our country should be embarrassed how the elderly in homes are treated or should I say mistreated. When is the abuse going to stop and start helping these patients get proper care and help the families placing them. Only those with money get in certain nursing home which is discrimination, when will that stop. Can someone do something. ???
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Unfortunately, I am going through a similar situation with my grandmother who fell and broke her hip in January. She was living in an assisted living community before and very independent. She lives in MS while I'm in LA. My cousin and I have been traveling back and forth trying to get her out of the nursing home she had to be placed in due to the extensive care she is needing, with no luck. Things have gone from horrible to worse! I have never seen anything like this! I have used up all of my sick days to check up on my grandmother and address unstable, uncaring situations that this nursing home has put her in. First, she's only had about 3 weeks of physical therapy before she was denied by Humana because of what the rehab nurses put in their clinical notes, which I still have yet to get a copy of. Since she hasn’t been getting the rehab she has had pneumonia and currently has a clot in her leg and an Abdominal Aneurysm. Now because of the aneurysm and the deterioration of her health we may never get her back to LA to be closer to her family. One nursing home that would’ve taken her before may now refuse… I haven’t gotten the decision back from them yet but from what I was told she might be denied. I don’t understand how these places are allowed to get away with this much less continue to operate without monthly investigations (I guess that would be too costly to the state). I’m am getting so stress out that I’m now getting muscle spasms every time I go out there. The nurses don’t care is what it comes down to. I have now found that if I want to make sure these people do their job I have to do it through emails and that’s just for paperwork. That doesn’t include making sure my grandmother is being looked after. They still have not made her appointment with the vascular surgeon yet. Even she is saying they are trying to kill her. I wish I could take her into my home but I just don’t have the equipment and can’t provide the level of care she needs without quitting my job, neglecting my kids and possibly having a nervous breakdown in the process. She needs full time care, 24 hours, with the necessary equipment to check her blood pressure and other vital signs. However if push comes to shove I will bring my grandmother home and just figure it out as I go. I’m so exhausted right now emotionally and physically, I just don’t know what to do.
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I have the answer for you. I have worked in this industry for 30 years and often make decisions regarding who to except and who to deny. The denial of you father had nothing to do with him but had everything to do with you! You jumped from place to place to place. Never happy and always critical. The fact that no facility would ever be able to please you or live up to your expectations is exactly why your father has difficulty finding placement.
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Freqflyer, Sorry to hear about your mom. 97 is great. She is only in a wheelchair for a couple of hours right now. Did excellent at home with my dad the past year. She is definitely in that delirium state right now. The last time she was in rehab, they gave her ativan and it didn't agree with her. Made her literally crazy. She has been on Valium, 10mg 3 times a day since she was in her 40's. She has reduced the dosage on her own to twice a day but the home is only giving her 5mg twice a day. I think it affecting her. Outbursts for no apparent reason. I know she can get going with my dad and start yelling but the valium always calmed her. I'm sure they do give them something to sleep in there. Tonight she was awake. Just making sure she understands to EAT and do her physical therapy so that she can get back home. I doubt she will be the same person she was. Every time she gets ill, she seems to slip a bit further down that rabbit hole. She is 89. Dad is 92.
Thanks for all of your info. While I was there tonight, the lady next to my mom found out her daughter does not want her to ever come home! Very sad. She is only 70 and was so upset. This is a first for me. I was a teenager when my grandmother and then my grandfather both passed in the middle of the night from a stroke. I was home alone doing the best I could. The my grandmother died from complications from the flu at age 94. And she lived alone. Just down the block but wanted to be in her home. Her hubby died instantly from a massive heart attack at age 74. And my father in law did the same in the middle of the night. My mother in law found out she had pancreatic cancer and only lasted 5 weeks. 10 days of which were spent in bed. So I don't know much about taking care of aging parents with medical problems that need to be in rehab/nursing homes. All info is a help for me. I would like both to stay with us but my dad is stubborn and wants to stay home as long as he can.
God bless all here. Great forum.
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Sandi, is your Mom a fall risk? If so, she could also fall from a wheelchair.... my Mom did that recently when she bent over to pick up something off the rug in the rehab center. Also, depending on your Mom's age, I read where 80% of the elders who are in the hospital or rehab go through a delirium phase, thus the doctor will prescribe something to calm that person down.

My Mom is also doing a lot of sleeping, but then again she is 97, she is tired. Blood pressure pills and pills to keep someone from being dizzy can make you really sleepy, and in a rehab center there isn't a whole lot for one to do in their room except watch TV. And she has delirium which is exhausting in itself. I probably would sleep through dinner, too :P
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I know this post is old but NOTHING has changed! My dad and I are going through the same thing with my mom. I'm having a meeting with them on Tuesday and I doubt I will have the patience to be nice to these people. We are there daily and all she does is sleep. A very deep sleep! Her heart and lungs are doing much better but how in the world is she going to be able to get up and get in a wheelchair is all she does is sleep and never move her legs? I did tell the hospital it was this nursing home or none. They waited for a bed. And I thought this was going to be much better than the others. They have a caring staff but each has so many patients that it is next to impossible for them to see to their needs regularly. I think that is why they are drugged. And when do they eat? I see the food brought in, my mom is sound asleep, and then the food is taken away. I will give it one more week and I'm just taking her home. I think I can do a better job!
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ummm ... the original post is from 2008. ?
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