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when I visited my mother in the nursing home where she is recovering from hip surgery after a fall at her assisted living facility, I found her sitting in her wheelchair fully dressed, and totally drenched in her urine. I grabbed a nurse for help and told her this was unacceptable. My mother has dementia from a brain aneurysm rupture 20 years ago. She tried to call for nurses several times, but nobody responded. I called for another nurse to show her my mom's predicament and it took 3 nurses 20 minutes to put my mom back in bed and change her clothes (and her wound dressing). I was shocked and saddened. How should I respond at a higher level with a complaint?

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Yes, and thank you very much for your feedback and support!
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Oh! bless your heart...and your Mom's...this is heartbreaking and frightening...Thank God she has a diligent advocate in you and you are right..what on earth do the folks who do not have someone keeping in close touch do??? It is troubling. I know when Mama was in rehab after a broken hip, it seemed to take the staff a bit to understand that Mama was not cognizant enough to call for help with the button but after several reminders they got with the program...I always made random visits so they never knew when I was coming, but they knew I was coming ....Having been in several NH facilties now mostly due to rehab for Mama, I have seen a lot of overworked folks...I have also seen a lot of folks who enjoy sitting and chatting at the call station about who they're dating, what they're cooking, etc..the latter is unacceptable when there are residents who need checking on and that is, after all, their job...thankfully you are keeping an eye on your Mom and I am praying that now that they know her situation, they will be more diligent about taking better care of her and her needs....
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Ow! Your poor mom! I agree, those without advocates are luckless. Wishing your mom fast healing!
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Thank you very much for all the responses to my situation. My mother has been in the nursing home for one week recovering from the hip surgery. She also wears incontinence briefs, so when they finally changed her, I could see the brief that had been wearing which was heavy with urine. I arrived at 7pm at the change of shift, so it is possible that she had her dinner at 5 or so, and then needed to "go", but nobody helped because they were giving report or something. I hope this is a rare occurrence, but it was truly upsetting for both me and my mom, especially after her harrowing experience at the ALF where fell in the shower. Apparently, a male nurse walked in on her to give meds at 5am. She was getting ready extra early in the morning to give herself plenty of time to get ready and attend a day program. The male nurse walked in on her, startling her, and she fell and hit her head on the shower wall and broke her hip!! This happened two weeks ago. This is under investigation, too, and I have a meeting with the ALF staff next week. I really don't know what residents do in such facilities if they do not have a family advocate. It is very stressful.
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Very upsetting and not acceptable. If mom has just gotten there, talk to the social worker at the facility and find out what their plan is for addressing her needs. My mom has been in differing levels of care in the past two years we discovered that all call buttons are not created equal (we now inspect them, check that mom can actually press them). If one type is too difficult, there are always alterations ones they can swap out. My mom initially could not remember (or thought she was being too much trouble) to ring the buzzer. So she would wave to the nurse when she saw her in the hallway! And the nurse would wave back, not realizing mom needed assistance. One tine, mom thought she'd been abandoned in the dining room, she was sitting next to a table with 6 other people. She kept "waving" to folks in the hallway who waved right back! It took some coaching for mom to "get" how to request assistance in each new situation. Hope this gets better real fast!
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What a bad experience! Did you notice if your mother's call light was on? How did she "try to call for nurses?" We've made a big sign with a picture of the call button, and posted it in Mom's room with the message to press the red button for help. The staff is good about making the button accessible by clipping it to her wheelchair when she sits in her room. Still, with her dementia she may or may not remember to push it when she needs help.

Most of the time she is not in her room. She sits in the dining room with a cup of coffee and a crossword puzzle book and perhaps another resident. Or she sits in a small area outside the nurses station, with a table over her wheelchair so she can read the paper or fold towels. Both of these places make it easy for the staff to keep an eye on her, and for her to tell someone when she needs to use the bathroom.

It sounds like the NH has not worked your mother's needs into their routine yet, and discovered the best ways to help her. I'll bet that will be a top priority now! How long has she been there? Does she wear incontinence briefs? Perhaps she should for the time being.

Is it normal to find a resident in this situation? It is not unheard of. But if it is "normal" at that facility I'd say you are facing a big problem.

Have you talked to the director of nursing about this incident? Ask how they will prevent this from happening again.
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It is extremely upsetting for both you and your mother, but it isn't necessarily neglect. How long has your mother been at the NH? It could be, for example, that the staff haven't yet established a pattern that will help them know when she needs attention.

My mother often claims to have called me and, bluntly, is talking baloney. Sometimes she's missed the button on her trigger, more usually she's making excuses. Of course you know your own mother, but unless she's pretty reliable about when and how often exactly she has done things I wouldn't rely too heavily on her account.

How often are the staff at the NH supposed to check on your mother? It's perfectly reasonable to ask about that and to request that they give it special attention until everything is more under control.

Now if this becomes a habit, or if you start noticing quite a lot of patients looking uncomfortable as you pass their rooms, that's different. I hope it won't be the case, but if it is do you have alternative nursing homes available?
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