Tuesday, November 11, 2008

it defies even imagination

I never had high expectations of nursing homes given the stories I have heard, but I guess you have to live it to believe how bad it can really get. I hope there are some staff at this facility that actually treat people like, well, people. But so far I've yet to witness it. I'm sure they're overworked, under-educated, but the bottom line is that they are still taking money for services that have not been rendered and care that is negligent, demeaning, and borderline abusive.

This is why you shouldn't allow a hospital transfer of your loved on to this shithole--oh excuse me, skilled nursing facility otherwise known as North Creek Health & Rehab in Bothell, Washington.

To think that when a patient's family expresses concern about the lack of hot water in a shared room where 2 women have colostomies and the caregivers are observed to be washing their hands for increments of perhaps 10 seconds at most, the response of the management team is "Cold water is just as good if you rub your hands together with friction."

A call button pushed for help is rarely answered within 10 minutes, and routinely answered at 30 minutes. The aide who answers the light typically says "I'll go get the nurse" and then asks the resident to turn the call button off. They rarely return to confirm that help is on the way or inform the resident how long it may be.

Her skin after nearly 2 months of being bed-bound at Harboview looked fantastic. After 1 week at the nursing home, it's starting to show the effects of poor nursing care.

Needed equipment included in her discharge orders, such as a continuous passive motion machine, was not available at the facility. It did not arrive until about 5 days after her admission. This was after my mom requested a copy of her discharge papers because the harried nurse stated "oh, we didn't see any orders for that, here why don't you look." and confirmed with the management team that yes, incompetents, this order existed. She got her CPM the next day.

When her family members met with the management team at this facility and expressed concern that she might not be able to spend 3 hours in a wheelchair to be transported to her first follow-up appointment (bear in mind the longest she has spent thus far has been about 30 minutes) the response was "that's the way our policies work" despite communication from the patient and the family that this would be uncomfortable and quite possibly even painful for her. (Did I mention she has a couple of open wounds still?)

When her colostomy keep coming off because nobody had been properly fitting it, she attempted to participate in the changing of the device and guide them to apply heat to make sure it stayed put. One of her caregivers was verbally abusive towards her when she tried to provide this guidance. (In auntie's defense, she only has one movable arm, so she can't quite do this herself yet. And this happened over a work-day for me, otherwise I could've had that baby fitted properly)

Oh, and a couple days later when the ostomy wafer needed to be changed? The needed supplies had not been ordered and were not available within the facility. When a family member offered to obtain them, they declined. The device was finally changed several hours later after they had obtained supplies from their preferred vendor. This resulted in several hours of discomfort for my aunt, whose poor skin is quite abraded by this point in time.

Worse yet, when a fed-up family member snapped a cell-phone photo of a poop-stained towel one staff member left on the floor, management team called it a HIPAA violation and banned them from the building and threated to call the police. Excuse me, since when was taking a photo of poo a HIPAA violation? Can you spot protected health information on dirty linen? I sure can't. It's a good thing, too. Otherwise scam artists would be cracking open septic tanks instead of mailboxes.

These are all sadly true stories and not an exaggeration. We've had a couple of meetings with the management team trying to voice concerns, and the response continues to be that the family is the problem, the family is interferring with care.

Realizing that we were not working with a team of professionals but an entirely different beast, we resorted to calling the state quality control offices. The ombudsman (who is actually a woman) visited today, and will be there again tomorrow.

I have never been so disgusted with a so-called healthcare institution. Unfortunately all attempts to mediate this at our own level only (so far) has served to make things worse. Hopefully the involvement of the state can help bring about some common sense and humanity. This has been a hard enough and long enough journey for my aunt without this extra drama. We have looked into other facilities but are currently wait-listed. Here's hoping for a better care partnership in the future.

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Karin, RN said...

I feel bad that your aunt had to go through this. 'hope things get better for her.

Jen said...

Rae, I feel awful after reading your post. It almost makes me think that your aunt would be better off at home with home health (even though this isn't realistic, I realize). And, I feel awful for the people who go through this every day and have no family to advocate for them. Good for you and your family for being an advocate for your aunt. Where was that place in West Seattle that we did clinicals? They seemed good.

Tania said...

This is unbelieveable! I hope the issues get resolved soon, and that you can move your aunt to a better place that has more competent people. Seriously, it makes me wonder how common this is.

Amy said...

Frustrated for you, your aunt and your family, Rae. Good luck with your continued advocacy.

Jaime said...

Awful and I'm ashamed to admit I know how it is. My Mother-in-Law's Father was placed in a community when they could no longer offer 24 hour care and it was equally bad. =(

Elizabeth said...

i just can't believe it - and it makes me so sad to hear that. I hope that things take a turn for the better!