What do we do about the crazy nursing home roommate?

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My mom (93, post stroke, vascular dementia, hip repair, aphasia, wheelchair bound) is in a nursing home for the past three years. Her original roomate passed away and was replaced a year or more ago with someone best described as a harridan ( on a good day) and a vile awful one on a bad day. My SIL has witnessed this person stuffing my mom's Depends under her shirt and stealing them. We strongly suspect that mom's missing clothing is stuffed in this person's many plastic bags. Administrative staff called us a few weeks ago to report that a ceramic Nativity was missing from mom's dresser. Nothing was ever missing from mom's belongings before her roomate arrived. Mom was upset and crying tonight. Roomate was banging a glass maple syup bottle and screaming for staff. The social worker is on vacation. I've emailed a strongly worded letter to the NH admin and copied the world, including mom's lawyer. Any ideas from the beehive?

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After seeing the previous post recommending using a marker on tags to label clothing - I wanted to say - a sneaky, crafty sort will cut the tag off. It's a pain in the rear but also mark clothing somewhere not so noticeable as to ruin the garment but in a spot that can't be removed. I use to do under collars and inside in the back on the hem.
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I hope that when you sent the letter to the admin at the nh that you put the formal "cc" on it indicating that your mothers attorney has been copied- and that you indicated the attorney by firm name or "LLC". I've done this in cases when I haven't actually copied an attorney and to out of state companies or persons even made up some impressive sounding law firm name. It's amazing how fast you can get attention and action with that little "cc".
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Just for reference, I'm going to post the letter I sent:

Dear Ms. NH Admin:

Our mother is Florence XXXX Room 108, on 1 North.


Our mother's roommate, one Mrs. ZZZZ is becoming increasingly abusive and agitated. (I can only assume that this is due to her advancing dementia). This is VERY upsetting to our mother.

Mrs. ZZZZs abusive actions toward staff are affecting our mother's care. Mrs. ZZZZ rings incessantly and verbally abuses staff when they enter the room. We believe that mom's care is being neglected because staff is increasingly reluctant to enter room 108, and I can't blame them.

My sister in law witnessed, tonight (2/16/17) Mrs. ZZZZ banging a glass bottle aggressively on her bedside table in a threatening manner. (She's allowed to have a glass bottle?). My mother was in tears when my sister in law visited this evening. This is an unacceptable environment for our mom, a patient with aphasia who cannot effectively advocate for herself.

We have witnessed Mrs. ZZZZ filching a stack of mother's Depends on at least one occasion (witnessed by my sister in law); we strongly suspect Mrs. ZZZZ in the disappearance of mom's clothing and of a Christmas gift Nativity Scene. This last theft was reported to us by your staff, so these are not the imaginings of a dementia patient. These are facts witnessed both by family members and your own professionals.


My brother PPPP and I would appreciate a phone call tomorrow morning sometime after 10 AM but before noon to discuss what remedial action will be taken.

Please understand that if action is not taken to remediate this situation, we will be forced to contact the Ombudsman, Florence's lawyer and the Joint Commission. We have pointed out the problems arising from the behavior of this mentally ill individual on several occasions in the past and we are not going to stand by and allow our mother's right to a non-abusive environment be violated any longer. We have been extremely patient and understanding in this matter, but at this point, we insist that Mrs. ZZZ MUST be moved immediately.

Please email me at your earliest convenience so that you can set up a conference call with myself and my brother.
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Your mother has rights that protect her wherever she is. I would recommend (if this letter gets you nowhere) strongly emphasising that their inaction to deal effectively with this woman constitutes a breach of your mother rights as a human being and you suggest they deal with it informally before you deal with it VERY FORMALLY because you will have no hesitation in going through the courts to get this rectified
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You can request for another roommate. Individuals like that does get confused. Make sure mark the clothes and other belonging with your mom's name with a black marker on the tags of the shirt and others. The social worker should have a back up while she is on vacation so that they can access her medical files just in case of emergency. Just as it can't hurt.
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A mostly successful day. Sent the "strongly worded" letter last night to the Administrator at the NH and cc other staff and mom's lawyer. Got an email at 9.02 AM saying that Admin was there and looking into matters and she asked some pointed questions. I emailed her back and got a reply at 10 AM that mom's roommate was being moved right then. Requested that they go through roommate"s hoarded stuff and pointed out that they have a patient who is hoarding--and that the hoarding should be addressed.

They are moving someone new into mom's room (my brother went over at lunch time and one of mom's regular aide's opined to big bro that maybe this one wasn't an improvement, but we'll deal with that when it becomes a problem.

I am beyond grateful to you all for great advice, as always. And as always, hats off to Pam Stegman, who can be gruff, but who taught me early on that mentioning, not often, but at the right time, that you know that your next point of contact will be the Ombudsman and the Joint Commission....well, that's just priceless.

As my SIL said to me today, she told Mom last night, when she was upset; "Don't worry, Barbara will fix this tomorrow". Nice to feel effective once in a while.
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I am so sorry, Barb. I will be blunt. People in NH die and I would think that you could request (strongly) that the next bed that becomes available in a room with another sweet old lady be given to your mom. I would demand that your mother's psychological wellbeing be given top priority. I would copy your Congress(wo)man on the letter, City Council member, Borough President, and any other big local name you can think of. Yes it's the NH equivalent of the nuclear option but at your mom's age, time is of the essence.
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The laundry problem is not just in NH. I was working and on a fire assignment in another state. I was working with the military and so rated a nice hotel room. We were there for a week and I decided to have this nice hotel do my laundry along with the pilots. I was the only woman. I got back men's underwear. When I took them to the busy lobby, here comes a pilot (man) waving my bra saying, "Mary!!! is this your bra? It was in my room!!!". Laughter followed. After that I did my own laundry.
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Thought I'd share this - went to see mom today at around 1:15, heading straight to her room to bring her another pillow. The door was wide open (usually closed) and lo and behold, there were four residents. One old guy was curled up on her mom's bed sound asleep, grinding his teeth and none too happy about being disturbed, lol, gross but I'm getting used to it). Mom's roommate was snoring in her own recliner, another gal was in the roommate's bed, and another just standing. I just laughed. There happened to be an STNA walking by. She took three of them out and I could then put mom's newer pillow on her bed (noting the old one had been returned). The STNA told me they seem drawn to the first room they see with an open door and somebody already there. Guess they're used to congregating. Mom was out in one of the bigger rooms, ready for lunch. Sigh.
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I hope the new roommate is better. We went thru this before mom was put into the memory unit. And her stuff is stolen regularly even though it is marked with a black permanent marker! Also, we put a 1'x1'x3' laundry holder next to her closet with her name on it and a plaque right above it showing that "family does laundry". My niece buys her protein drinks by the case that are put in her mini fridge, I take fiber bars, hot chocolate mix, vegetable chips (she loves them), fruit & special holiday snacks to her. They frequently get stolen. I took two huge bundles of bananas once because the two I took the week before disappeared. She said the nurses ate them. She has had 2 pairs of shoes stolen and recovered 1 shoe from them. Her cane disappeared, someone took her wheelchair but, I found it in another wing and her name is stenciled in yellow paint on the back of the chair in 4" letters!! I noticed yesterday the cushion is gone from it. Everything she has there has her name written or etched on it. But, she is taking items from others also. I found a drawer filled with dolls, stuffed animals, tv controllers, hair brushes, combs, spoons, forks, etc.
So, I know it is a natural reaction as dementia sets in. I wish the best for your mom.
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