Tips For Caregiver's

People with Alzheimer's disease frequently become more disoriented after dark or when waking. Leaving a night-light on in the bedroom may be helpful.


Monday, December 18, 2006

When Respite Stays Go Bad!

Let's just say that I am two seconds shy of being pushed off the edge! I had to travel for business four days last week. This required my grandmother to stay in a local nursing home while I was away. This is not an uncommon practice - I take her the day before I leave and pick her up the day after my return. In this instance my grandmother was at the nursing home from Saturday, December 9th - Friday, December 15th. After work on the 15th, I arrived at the nursing home at about 6:30 p.m. and I immediately noticed the following:

  • Muddear did not smell "fresh!"
  • Muddear was wearing two dirty gowns (one on top of the other)!
  • Muddear's skin was scaly - it looked as though her skin had not come in contact with water or lotion for the last month!
  • Her socks were covered in dust, lint, and other miscellaneous debris!
  • Her bed was filthy - food, dust, flaky skin!

My heart was palpitating, I was so angry! When I looked and smelled the articles of clothing I packed for this stay, I discovered they were all clean! I could not believe that my grandmother had been a temporary resident for nearly a week and the nursing home never bathed, cleaned, or changed her clothing or the bed she was sleeping in, even though it too was filthy.

To make matters worse, I found an inhaler in her wheelchair! My grandmother has Dementia! Why in the world would a nurse allow her to self medicate? I couldn't believe it! I began to question the nursing home staff and was initially given the run-a-round. Apparently, the night shift was not responsible for bathing, only the day shift. No one from the day shift was available. No records were available, only during the day shift. People on the night shift lied, stating that my grandmother had a bath, even though they never worked the day shift and really did not know. It was awful! How could a nursing home treat an elderly, helpless woman with Dementia so badly? There was a social worker who attempted to find out what happened and scheduled an appointment for me to meet with the Assistant Director of Nursing (ADON). I was so angry, she was lucky I didn't bite her head off!

To make a long story short, I returned this morning to report the incident to the ADON, who in turn reported it to the Director of Nursing. An investigation is underway and the preliminary results confirm that she had not received nor had she been offered the opportunity to bathe, change clothes, etc. I am also in the process of filing a formal complaint with my state's Long Term Care Ombudsman.

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