I'm considering reporting my mom's nursing home to the state. Advice? - AgingCare.com

I'm considering reporting my mom's nursing home to the state. Advice?

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I've had several serious problems at my mom's nursing home. And yes, I've talked to the social worker (she's the biggest bully of all), the administrator (who's only interested in keeping things status quo), and the ombudsman (who is close friends with the bully social worker). The latest is that a mentally ill middle aged man on my mom's "secure dementia unit" threatened to "knock her down." I reported this to the nurse. Three days later, mom had a black eye and no one has "any idea" how it happened. Mom is 80. It happened on the watch of the nurse I reported the threat to!

I've just had it. I've seen the result of people complaining. They end up either leaving the nursing home or literally getting neglected to death. Can I report anonymously to the state and count on it to stay that way? The NH is big on repercussions and the staff is all afraid of the higher ups. Too afraid to even speak. They come to me and tell me things on the sly, begging me not to tell anyone they said something. Then they encourage me to stick my neck out and call the state. It just makes me angry. If they know so much, why don't they call the state? They would never have my back.

I also hate when people tell me to "just move her." I can't. it's impossible. In NY, you can't just pick a NH and go. You have to be accepted, and they're not to thrilled with people already on Medicaid with small social security checks. I visited 26 nursing homes in my area. Most of them were so horrendous, I would never consider them. Of the 5 good ones I applied to, this was the only one who accepted mom. It was also the only one who didn't ask for financial info upfront. It's also the only one with private rooms. So, I'm sure you understand that I have no interest in going from the frying pan to the fire. Our current nursing home is considered the "taj mahal" of nursing homes, and if it's this bad here, I don't want to take chances somewhere else. Besides, mom's mental state cannot handle a major move. She became so disoriented at a recent hospital stay that I lost what was left of her and she literally almost died. Only after 2 days back at her NH did she come back to herself.

I don't want them to get away with this! I also don't want my mom kicked out of this NH. I just want this mentally ill man moved, something they don't want to do apparently. I also want them to watch more diligently, mop more, not allow my moms diapers to overflow, even if she "resists..."

I am tormented by this day and night. I feel like my hands are tied behind my back. I cry all the time. I have nightmares. I find myself wanted my mom to die, as much for my relief as hers.

I need a course of action that will actually make things better instead of worse. Please help if you can.

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Unfortunately the best of nh or memory care or rehab requires constant monitoring

Are there other family members who are having bad experiences ? If so that may help get your complaints listened to by the state - in the meantime can you afford a sitter for a few hours a day to keep an eye on things for you ? If your mother doesn't need skilled nursing but just custodial care for dementia then look into a residential board and care

Our system is ill equipped to handle care for the aged - God bless us all
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Is there an option for a smaller residential group home, where there are less than eight to ten residents? In Arizona, where I live, there are dementia-based group homes that take Medicaid. And of course, there are private-pay group homes.

I feel your pain. I feel your stress. You're not a bad person for wanting your mother to die. As caregivers, we can't expect to act like Mary Poppins' every single minute of the day. It's rough what we go through - and those that aren't in our position don't get it, don't understand what we deal with - yet they freely pass judgement. I cry every night - hoping my mother will die in her sleep painlessly - because she has not quality of life - at all. She's been suffering for way too long after my father expired in 2007. Her future is not a bright one...just more suffering. I'm a firm believer in negative energy contributing to bad health and I don't want to hold my frustration, hold my sadness "in" because then my health will be damaged. I allow myself to feel the anger, the pain, the sadness, the loneliness.

I'm all for secretly gathering info - but be very, very careful. And you may want to check your State laws, too, because if you do catch something happening to your mother, then you'll need to be ready to defend yourself as this crazy NH may try to sue you for not having authority to snoop around secretly. I'm not trying to to scare you, not trying to deter you, but I think you need to be prepared for the worst case, going all balls-to-the wall type of scenario because this can get ugly quickly.

Can you contact your local paper and tell them what's going on - but you don't want to be identified? I know this isn't much help but the word needs to get out about what's really going on in these homes.

I read this horrific story of an elderly wheelchair-bound nursing home resident who died from neglect - from being left in the sun all day long. This man had no family. Never married. No kids. No one to check on him. Reading his death brought tears to my eyes. Then I felt relieved that I can be my mother's advocate:
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Disgusted, I am with you and I know the exact dirty look you are talking about. I've even gotten it from the medical director's secretary!! It makes me dread going to see my mom in what are probably the last years of her life. I feel they are stealing that from me, this time with mom. I fear that she's suffering and I become afraid. I wish she didn't have to be in a nursing home. I can tell you are stressed and hurting, so I won't hurt you worse (as many have done to me) by pressuring you or telling you what you "should" do. I realize that you can't do much right now; you're too beaten down. Just know that your mother knows what you're doing for her and how much you love her and she is happy and proud to have a daughter like you. If you ever want to bounce something off of someone who would understand, private message me. I'm your sister in this suffering.
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I'm so sorry this is happening to you and your Mom. My heart breaks for you. I have a similar situation and like you am tormented by it. I cry all the time. I have no peace and I doubt I ever will, even after she's gone. I complain and all it's gotten me is ignored! You are right about that. How dare they! We pay $6300/month. My e-mails are not returned. My calls are not returned. I'm given the dirtiest looks you've ever seen, when I'm there. I do not deserve this! My mother does not deserve this! This facility is supposedly the BEST!! WooHoo. They retaliate against my mother because I call them out on stuff. She is not included in the activities when I'm not there. She's not included in the birthday party when it's her birthday month. I'm just sick. These people are supposed to be professionals. They have zero communication skills and apparently could care less about the elderly/those with dementia. I try to be as sweet as I can after we've had a discussion about something, it's gotten me no where fast. I don't know what to do, but I've got to do something. I live 3 1/2 hours away from her and visit as often as I can. I try for weekly but my health is suffering from the stress now. D@m% these people.
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I've already consulted a lawyer and there's no case. Sadly, there is no bang for my buck. I have to report the truth to the governing agency, let them investigate, and find that everything I tell them is valid. The question then becomes, then what? They have already been cited by the state for a very obscure case of abuse and neglect. (That resident died.) If enough accumulate, the penalties get stiffer, but I suspect that no matter what, it would be business as usual.
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Anonymous tips or falsely claiming to be an employee are just going to cause your complaints to be written off as coming from someone with a grudge at best and you could be opening yourself up to harassment charges if they choose to investigate. Take pictures of the man outside his room, take her to the ER if you see suspicious bruising so it is documented, consider a nanny cam in her living area and document everything you see and hear, if more than one person sees or hears the same thing have them initial it too. Be discrete so they don't find a way to ban you from the facility. Arm yourself with the indisputable evidence and then decide where you will get the best bang for the buck... your congressman? Senator? The press? Or maybe threaten a civil suit?
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Thanks, everyone. Original poster here. On Monday, we put in a complaint with the CEO. Today I got a phone call with the result. They had the bully social worker on the call and basically, someone other than the CEO called back with the "details of the investigation." They basically told me what they would say if questioned by the state. They made a case for themselves. The violent man has an alarm on his door, which would have gone off if it was opened, and someone would have heard it. Staff is all claiming that they did not see or hear anything. They maintain that she fell and you can get a black eye from falling. They got PT to come in an evaluate her and yes, they confirmed that if she fell she would be able to pick herself back up. I mean, just over the top. Not afraid of looking stupid for perpetrating this charade. And that's that.

I had high hopes for this CEO (we have a new one), but they're all the same. So here's my plan, friends, I will most certainly call the state...but not just about this situation, but about everything I know about the nursing home, concerning my mom and every other resident. They wanted a fight and they're going to get one! Actually, they didn't want a fight, they wanted to destroy me and shut me up. They're going to feel the backlash. I will do this anonymously, *76-ing my phone number and claiming to be an employee. Every single week. For what it's worth. I've heard from others that it's not worth a thing. Until we as a culture decide that the old, the sick, the disabled, and the mentally ill matter, nothing will ever change.
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The whole system sounds broken down.

We have to be advocates for our loved ones in NH's. It's our responsibility. Make the complaint. You probably won't be the first person to do so.
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I'm sorry Christine. I can understand your frustration. It sounds like you have done all the right things. I would think that if the man is a violent threat, they will move him out.

I'm not sure how it works, but in NC Memory Care facilities do keep records of patients, even though they have dementia. There is a lady in my cousin's who is destroying property. I had to move my cousin to a different room due to her. She destroyed my cousin's property and they did write her up. I'm not sure what that means, but I have a feeling at a certain point, they will move her.

Don't they have a system to request a meeting/hearing, etc. Your mom has rights and I think by Federal and state law, they have to uphold her rights. Of course, they may claim they don't know how she got the black eye. Which they may not know, but I would wonder if there are other incidents regarding this man, that they could take some precautions.

Can you ask them to change her more frequently and provide you a log of when they do it? My cousin is change on a regular schedule and that seems to work okay, though, she has had leaks before.

I hope you get some action and things improve.
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Your mom sounds like the perfect example of everything wrong about nursing homes. Yes there are good ones, but location and money and just plain luck are necessary to get into one, there are still too many god awful ones out there and you can bet nobody is in them by choice. I wish I had some helpful advice for you... have you considered looking farther afield? Even if you couldn't visit as often you might at least be assured she is being cared for and not abused. ((hugs))
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