Monday, October 23, 2023

Nursing Homes Need Help.

I haven't been able to post in a long time because of my Dad's decline in health. He passed September 23rd. In that time, I have been busy with hospitals, rehabs, a nursing home and finally hospice. 

It started when he lost the ability to stand up and walk with a walker. This made it really hard for me to take care of him. I work full time, and took care of him after work. He had caregivers during the day for the last five years. My daughter filled in when she was available. This saved him money, however, after five years he was running out of of money. I told him "If you can walk again, I can take you home on Sundays."  So this motivated him. He went to rehab and regained the ability to walk again with a walker. When someone is 87 years old, they don't really try too hard to figure out why someone can't walk, so I never found out. 

Next, he went to a nursing home for more therapy and from there he would transition into a long-term bed. Then I had to apply for Medicaid for him. This was one of the most stressful things in my life. They want all sorts of documents to prove that all assets have been depleted. Years ago we put the house in a trust, so it was protected. I also had recently prepaid for cremation. This had to be an irrevocable contract and I needed a a document for proof that I couldn't cash it in.  

I was warned that the nursing home charges $425 a day, so you better be covered. It often seemed like I was constantly finding documents, sighing papers and jumping through hoops. However, I felt relief when I turned in the stack of papers with the Medicaid application. 

Meanwhile, the nursing home was terrible. The rooms were too small (shared with another patient) I could barely even turn around in there. It was just enough room for a bed and a wheel chair. It was comparable in size to a walk in closet. This bothered my Dad and he would complain because his roommates side was bigger. However, I would point out that he had the window. 

I tried to help him make the best of it, but sometimes when I would visit, my Dad would be sitting in his wheel chair with a shirt on and a brief. No pants! His shoes went missing and nobody cared. I never did get them back. The bathroom stank, even when it appeared clean. It had no ventilation at all. The entire place had a musty blend of crap and urine. That smell tended to permeate everything. 

My Dad needed blood work at least once a month to determine if he needed an injection of "ProCrit" This was to boost his red blood cells. Usually, I would take him to the lab at his doctor's office, but someone at the nursing home said they could do it. I had to ask about ten times for them to do this and fax it to his doctor. This put him behind on those injections.  

I've heard so many stories of neglect in nursing homes these days. They all have staffing problems, but it's simply not acceptable. These nursing homes need to be made accountable. The price is outrageous for the little that they do. Where is all this money going? There has to be a better way of taking care of the elderly. It's just so horribly wrong. 

I did things to try and keep his spirits up while working full time and gathering documents. I would go there and take Dad out in the "Garden" It was an unimpressive patch of shaggy grass with some elevated flower boxes. I also took him out to eat on Saturdays and home for dinner on Sunday. I did this to keep his spirits up. I visited almost every day. One day, he was crabby and complaining about an unmade bed and how it wasn't fair his side of the room was smaller. The next time I came, I happened to bring him candy fish. He chowed them down, and I noticed how his mood was so much better. With this realization, I always had a treat ready in case of a bad mood. 

Then one Saturday it seemed like my Dad had a cold. He sounded congested. I had them test him for Covid, but it was negative. Even worse, once again he couldn't stand up. He ended up in the ER with heart failure. I told him he wouldn't have to go back to that place. Dad nodded because he knew what was happening. He preferred resting in peace, rather than go back there.  

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to hear about dad. It sounds like it was pretty awful. I'm sure there's some regulative body you can contact about that nursing home or maybe at least the Better Business Bureau. Or I'm sure you can put a review on Google or something. It might not do a lot but it might provide some catharsis.