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Mom (who has mild dementia) fell recently and says she pushed the alert button on her pendant several times with no response until she finally crawled to the bathroom to pull the emergency cord. The AL team claims they were on it immediately (although they acknowledge she pushed the button AND pulled the cord). She's not a reliable witness, but the AL mgmt sound like they're protecting themselves, it's not the first time they've dropped the ball (When I couldn't reach her on the phone, I'd asked them to go up and check on her and she says they never did - again, she's an unreliable witness to her own life, so I can't be sure).


Does anyone know, or have experience, asking about electronic records of those kinds of calls, rather than taking the facilities word for things?

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Mother was at a rogue facility that almost blinded and or killed her through their neglect and bad acts. As I asked to see and obtain records and asked questions they got madder and madder at me. I didn't get records or any cooperation. I called the ombudsman, believe me she was part of the cover for the facility. When the facility knew they could be in trouble, she and every other agency I called protected the facility as did the attorney we hired. I was going to the facilities Caretaker Support Group. What is said there stays there...NOT. I was banned from the support group when I broke down crying and blurted out the resistance I was facing from trying to stop the negligence and bad acts.  It got so bad, I would find Mom on the floor crying and asking where was I . The blows to her head got her more and more confused. It was breaking my heart. They cut my hours, banned me from activities and the dining room and made up stories against me. The Glaucoma Specialist we saw stood up for Mother and myself requesting an intervention for me to give Mother her eyedrops considering the decline to severe Glaucoma after they forced Mother and I out of Independent Living where I was giving her eyedrops into Health Care and then into Personal Care. Both units badly messed up her eyes not giving her recommended eye drops. Mother was having visual Hallucinations, The Charles Bonnet Syndrom signaling an end of eyesight in a few months under their care. As far as Nurses Aides answering the alarm buttons, it was  inconvenient or joke to them to leave the residents unattended and pretend to the family that they cared. As soon as family left, they would drop the pretense. My son stepped in and we got Mom out of there. We moved to a facility the next County over into a loving community where we have a home, church and credibility.  We also have friends in the facility who are employees, residents or volunteers.   The rogue facility was convinced that I had none of these things because of bad family vibes from my cousin and brother, who reveled in the facility dragging me through the mud. I prayed that God would give me the words to deal with them and it happened. Mom wants nothing to do with cousin. Brother is not entangled with the new facility. He lives out of town and we remain in contact. He has a hands off policy now.  Mother has greatly improved in the year at the new facility. We have arranged that I am Mother's full time caretaker here.  We are blessed and I am at her side 24 x 7 in a 1 room apartment.  Praise God.
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Thanks all, I'm going to ask them for Mom's call log and go from there. I'm really only concerned with this one incident. I appreciate all the input and experience.
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I chose to give a video answer.

youtube.com Elder Guru Answer: Daughter wonders if staff responded timely to fall
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Having worked in an AL/SNF, I can tell you many times the calls aren't answered. OR, the nursing aide will go in and turn off the alarm and NOT come back. We (physical therapy) also found a couple of cases where pts. told us they rang their buzzer all night and nobody came..We looked, and someone had unplugged the buzzer. IT's not a pretty picture. I know many of the pts. had dementia, but nighttime and weekends are apples to oranges in the SNF/ ALF setting.
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Depending on the state where the AL facility is it might be legal to place cameras in the room so you can monitor yourself what is going on. You may not know if she pushed a call button but you would know if she fell.
You could get the type that you could monitor from your phone. I do not know if that can be recorded and the "tape" saved or if that is another system. But it would be worth looking into.
The first thing to do would be to determine if placing cameras is legal.

There most assuredly should be a record of the fall though. I hope that was documented and what they are doing to try to prevent another fall.
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The comment made by Mark47 reminded me of something I read or heard a few decades ago: If you call for an ambulance and order Domino's Pizza [the only brand around then that delivered pizza], your pizza will arrive first. I guess by transitivity that means if you need something in the nursing home, order and eat a pizza while waiting for help. (I sincerely hope this isn't the case, but it just may be in some facilities.)
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Even the little electronic box of tricks I had at home, looking after just one person, linked bed and chair alarms and my mother's call pendant, and, yes, logged all "activity" - time of alarm, which alarm, time of response to alarm (i.e. pressing the button on the monitor). I'm not sure how many calls the box itself could store; but I know that it was designed for uploading records to a computer, I just never needed to. So I expect there will be a data store *somewhere* of every alarm call made in the entire facility. Mining that data store... probably not quite so straightforward.

You could do something as straightforward as say to the facility: "may I see my mother's call log, please?" It's a reasonable request, courteously made. It will either make their hearts sink because, dang, now they'll have to drag out the instruction manual and figure out how to access the records; or it might make their day because, hurrah! - somebody has actually asked to see those logs and they haven't been completely wasting their time keeping them.

Either way, let's suppose they do produce them with more or less grace. Where will it get you?

11:03 - Room 42.
11:05 - cancel.

All that tells you is that somebody noticed the alarm and pressed the appropriate acknowledgement button. It doesn't tell you what they did about it. Conversely, supposing the cancellation time is five hours later. That just tells you they forgot to cancel the alarm - could even be the aide was busy helping your mother up and that's why she forgot.

The other reservation I'd have about this is that sometimes the pendant is tricky. Some light up, but it's often a red light on a red background and hard to see. Some are waterproof, which is great if the person forgets to take it off when washing but not so good if she has elderly, arthritic fingers trying to press a teeny little button through rubbery material. So your mother might well have been certain she pressed her pendant alarm without actually having managed to set it off.

I think you might do better to have discreet discussions with other residents' family members and see if response times in general are a concern. Is there a residents' and families' group working with the ALF management? If not, would you like to start one?!
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There are facilities where the alert call system is tied to a computer which documents when the alert was initiated and when it was responded to (reset by the aid). Ask the facility if they have such a system. Be aware that response time is not the full answer because aids may go to the room quickly, reset the alert system and leave with the promise to return and the return take a very long time. Regardless of the system, if you think there is a problem in the response time call your long term care ombudsman office and ask that they open a case to investigate the response time. With staff to resident ratios in ALF's commonly being around 1 to 10, response times are excessive in some facilities and particularly on some shifts and when seasonal illnesses occur.

There are cases where 10 minutes seem like 2 hours to the resident either because of cognitive impairment or because of the trauma they experience. However when a 911 call gets an EMS truck to the facility faster than the staff can get to a room and care for the resident then changes need to be made.
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jshdoff, I remember when my Dad was living in a senior facility and he had the option of wearing a medic alert call button. I remember there were times when Dad fell, and said he had pushed the button and it took hours before anyone came. To an elder 10 minutes might seem like a life time to them.

Plus one needs to realize that a senior care facility has triage. Where my Dad was, an aide would run over to his apartment to see what was going on, and if it wasn't serious she would tell Dad someone would be with him shortly as it usually took two people to lift someone if they had fallen. Then Dad would forget, and push the button again, and again.

Of course, majority of these falls were at night when there were less employees in the building. Thus running from building to building if it is a larger complex.

As for electronic records, that an excellent question. I would be curious if there was a digital log. The only thing the log may no indicate what the call was for. Some residents would buzz when there was no emergency.
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