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My MIL with dementia has been in memory care for almost 6 months. She had a positive COVID test last week, and was moved to a floor with 7 other COVID+ residents. There is a quarantine right now for the facility - no visitors in or out.
We were able to talk with her on the phone the day after her positive test, and she was sounding pretty good considering. In the days after that, I was not able to get through to staff on the COVID floor. Only spoke with a nurse from another floor who didn’t have info on my MIL. The receptionist would take down my number and say someone would call me back, but they never did. I would also try calling back on could not get through to anyone with info.


Saturday morning, we got a call that her O2 levels had dropped to upper 80s (normal is 90-100) and her fever had gone up a little bit. We decided to have her taken to the ER (the facility also backed that decision). Her O2 levels went back up, and she went back to the facility that same day. Later in the day, my SIL called facility to get an update. A nurse happened to mention something like “isn’t it crazy she’s been to the ER twice in 2 days?” Apparently MIL had fallen on Friday afternoon, was taken to the ER, treated for a broken clavicle, then transported back to facility. No one from the facility called us about that!


Since Saturday, we have only been able to get through to someone for one update. We have called the director and sent an email to him, but have not heard back. Overall, we would mostly like to talk with MIL to check in and make sure she is holding up okay and tell her that we love her. I know that facilities are understaffed and hectically-run right now, especially with COVID ramping up again. Are our expectations too high? After this experience, we are considering moving her elsewhere. Any advice?

We are having pretty much the same issue. My husband went into memory care on 10/14. He was walking, talking, not always sensibly & was able to feed himself. At 10:30 pm this past Saturday, my daughter was called & told that he had been in bed for 24 hrs with nothing to eat or drink. She was told he had a “bruise” on his face. The “bruise” was a huge red knot & he looked as if he’d been punched, but nobody saw anything .We went to see him immediately & called 911. The hospital ran tests which to me indicated a UTI, but was sent back without abx. They did give him fluids for dehydration. Sunday we went to see him, again he looked awful, and another trip to a different ER. Again fluids, an IV abx, and I was led to believe the facility said send him back. We did go back, he had been put in bed by the transport guys and left. Had we not stayed, he wouldn’t have been fed or had meds. Yesterday we went to discuss issues with admin, saw him again! And called 911 again. Hes now admitted for uti, dehydration & declining mental status. It also turned out he’s not had his meds most days, he “refused”. He wont be going back & I’m afraid he may need to come back home. My daughter wants to sue for elder abuse. Sorry for rambling but these past couple days have been horrible. Any thoughts on the best way to proceed with this? Thanks
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Reply to Bogartsmom
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Its a State law that a family member must be called when a resident has a fall and especially when taken to a hospital. Usually, no staff member goes with them.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Me, I would march down to the MC facility and demand answers for what's going on from the Executive Director him/herself.

It is 100% unacceptable that you were not called about your MIL being taken to the ER for the fall the first time, #1. And now to have no response to your repeated inquiries and calls about her status is also unacceptable. This is how NOT to run a Memory Care ALF. Let the ED know you'll get the Ombudsman involved if a satisfactory resolution is not achieved on behalf of your MIL. Then proceed to involve the Ombudsman ANYWAY b/c this is not acceptable behavior on their part under ANY circumstances.

My mother lives in Memory Care AL as well here in the burbs of Denver. I have been informed every step of the way of ALL Covid happenings since the onset of this plague. There have been no deaths at her place (150 residents) and a few outbreaks which were properly handled/managed by the staff and admin alike, fortunately. I think a few residents went to the hospital in the early days of Covid, but nothing serious ever happened. I am not sure why you're MILs MC is having another outbreak right now, but they should have learned how to handle such crises the first time around.

I'd move her out of there whenever the opportunity presents itself b/c they've proven themselves incompetent in every way possible.

Best of luck with everything.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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RedbirdRobin Oct 26, 2021
Thanks for your reply, Lealonnie! I am going to discuss with my husband and SIL about going to the Ombudsman if we cannot find a resolution with the ED. I’m glad that your mother’s MC/AL has been so adept at handling the pandemic and being in good communication with you. Thank you for your perspective.
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At the height of the wave here in Southern California last winter, my mother was in the hospital for about eight days, and I was able to talk to someone who even knew who she was ONCE. (Mind you, Mom wasn't in the hospital with Covid either.) It was the attending physician, who I really never expected to hear from, and he called me at 10 o'clock at night just to let me know what was going on. She went on to a rehab place for an additional five days (where she did pick up Covid, thank you very much for that), and I heard from them twice.

I really wish these places would put into place some kind of communication system to convey information to families, especially when Covid is the issue. My mom's MC was great throughout her stay there, including when she was diagnosed with Covid after returning from the rehab place. She was quarantined for five weeks, so all in all, I wasn't able to communicate directly with her for seven weeks.

It's inexcusable that no one was notified about your MIL's clavicle incident, however. Is her emergency information up to date with the names and number of the person holding her medical power of attorney? That's someone that needs to be remedied ASAP with the director, because anytime a loved one leaves the place, someone should be notified at once.
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Reply to MJ1929
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RedbirdRobin Oct 26, 2021
Thanks for your reply, MJ. I’m sorry you had to go through so much with your Mother last winter. It does seem that communication can easily get dropped when there are multiple facilities involved. We do have all of our numbers on file, including my MIL’s mPOA, and they have called us before for other minor things, so we didn’t think that would cause the breakdown.
Thankfully, my SIL was able to talk to an aide yesterday who had been taking care of my MIL, and we got a good update. The aide also gave us her personal cell number for future updates. It doesn’t quite address the bigger issues, but it is helpful for now.
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What state/city are you in? We were going through this in my MIL's facility in April/May of 2020, so I'm sort of amazed at what's going on in your MIL's place right now. Was your MIL vaccinated?

If they are going through a "first wave" in that facility, yes I guarantee they are running around with their hair on fire, dealing with not only very sick and needy people but also dealing with staff absenteeism as surely staff is also getting sick and there are no subs.

If this is NOT the first wave, then I personally think there's just no excuse for what's happening there -- they should have figured it out the first time around! And I wouldn't assume it's any better at other facilities. If I were you I'd join Nextdoor.com and ask actual people in your near community for their opinions on what is happening with their LOs in their facilities. You will get unvarnished, and immediate responses.

My MIL's facility has had only a handful of covid cases after the first wave, and about 2 breakthrough cases in vaccinated staff.

I'm so sorry for the distress this is causing your MIL and your family. Best wishes in finding improved care for her!
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Reply to Geaton777
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RedbirdRobin Oct 26, 2021
Thank you for your reply. MIL is in Western PA near my SIL; my husband and I are out of state. And yes, MIL is vaccinated. I’m fairly certain that they had a first wave go through last year, but this is the first wave that we are experiencing with MIL in MC. That’s a good idea about Nextdoor.com! We were going to ask on Facebook. And I agree that it’s probably not much better at other facilities. Thanks for your perspective!
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