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Keeping the NH on their toes

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Old 02-13-2009, 02:49 PM   #1
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Keeping the NH on their toes

Went to the NH today for a quick visit to check up on some personal cleanliness issues that I've talked with them about on 3 other occasions. Well, long story short, Betsy was not as well-kept as I would like. Hair was dirty, she was wandering around without shoes, and her pants were wet. When I went to find someone to come take care of it, they just looked at me like it was my job. 3 aides just sitting there visiting with each other. I found the head nurse and pretty much went off.

Am I out of line in expecting them to keep her somewhat clean and bathed? She has no level of awareness that things like that need to be done. Can't shower, shampoo or brush her teeth by herself. I've explained this many times before. Obviously to deaf ears.

I just told them that I didn't want to have to have this meeting again. And if I did, it would be with the administrator. I was so angry and frustrated.

I know they have a lot to do there with all the patients. But all it takes is just being observant to know what needs to be done. My stress level is thru the roof right now.

Thanks for letting me vent. Later. KB

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Old 02-13-2009, 03:15 PM   #2
Martha H
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Re: Keeping the NH on their toes

You did the right thing. It is a very good idea to come in unexpectedly at unusual times of day.

My brother was the one who lived near Mom's NH. He used to be there almost every day. Everyone knew him, and he also brought food (such as venison stew from deer caught by my nephew and cooked by my brother) or cookies. He always told me all the patients were treated well, and I believe him since on my visits I never saw anyone dirty or smelly or unshod. But I do believe he worked on a special relationship with the staff which led to even better than average care for our Mom.

My sister was the opposite. On her infrequent visits she compalined loud and long to one and all. They all hated to see her come and hoped she would leave soon, which she did after a 3 day visit. That kind of attitude didn't help Mom at all, but my brother's friendly caring behavior did.

Keep an eye on her, make friends with the staff, don't get into the trap of being seen as an annoyance by them, but get them on your side. I think the old saying still works, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar ...



Old 02-13-2009, 04:41 PM   #3
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Re: Keeping the NH on their toes

Oh Ken...I agree with Martha; you absolutely did the right thing.

Just so sorry for this unexcusable experience for your Betsy...

Keep on 'em...let them know when she isn't being kept clean...I'd be at the administrator's door also. There are laws in place to prevent things like this from happening. I'm so very lucky for the care my Mom gets.......

If you see good changes in Betsy's care, make sure you mention this to them could be they were simply caught in between care...but if this is a common needs to be addressed.

Vent away....we're here to listen and offer shoulders.......Pam

Old 02-13-2009, 08:00 PM   #4
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Re: Keeping the NH on their toes

Having been on the other side, in the admin office, you absoluely did the right thing. And the next time you see the same situation absolutely go to the admin. The best way for the admin to know what is going on when they are not on the halls is to be told by caring, logical family members. Now there were a few that I learned to smile and nod at because they complained about everything and anything but when a real problem crossed my desk it was dealt with. There were actually complaints that lead to me letting staff go because they were not doing what they should. Remember that the admin runs the facility but sometimes can't know everything that goes on. If they know and nothing changes then it is time to move. Just approach them with rational logical facts and not raw emotion

Love, deb

Old 02-14-2009, 03:03 PM   #5
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Re: Keeping the NH on their toes

You were certainly justified to confront the staff about this situation. My grandmother recently entered a NH and I have been working really hard on getting to know the staff there and make friends with them. Martha was correct in her post when she said you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. I have made it clear to the staff that I will be coming by every day, and when possible I do try to vary my times to keep them on their toes.
At the same time I do try to put myself in their shoes and realize that they have many patients to care for and there may be times when my grandmother (and I) have to wait. I think it's important for the patient, if the family lives nearby to try and become a part of things and build relationships with the staff and other family members at the NH. I have become friendly with my grandmother's roomate's daughters, and they have let me know that they "keep an eye" on my grandmother when they're there and I'm not.


Old 02-14-2009, 06:22 PM   #6
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Re: Keeping the NH on their toes

I'd be so mad! We are thinking of putting our mother somewhere, stories like this make it hard to do.

Old 02-14-2009, 06:44 PM   #7
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Re: Keeping the NH on their toes


I know how hard it was for you to see Betsy like that. Here is my question to you? Are you often there and praise them too? Do you thank them for seeing her with clean clothes and washed hair? For clean sheets on her bed and a neat room? Do you drop off cookies or candy for no certain reason except as a little thank you for the work that you do?

We live in VA and my parents were in Minn. and we were there every 3/4weeks at the end, and it was every 6 weeks earlier. I called every day to talk to the staff. I made friends with the social worker for the unit, the head nurse, and the staff that took care of my mom. I knew who worked the shifts with her. I always made it a point to speak with them and talk with them about their family. It took extra time, but my mother got the care that I needed her to have because I invested extra time when I was there. I spent the time to be concerned about her caregivers. What goes aorund comes around.

You have every right to be upset about her condition, and you should be. I'm just giving you some food for thought. What they pay these workers isn't alot and they have alot of patients to care for. Your concern for them will often carry over to their patients...

as the local minister here says..."not a sermon, just a thought>"

Last edited by ibake&pray; 02-14-2009 at 06:44 PM.

Old 02-17-2009, 03:14 PM   #8
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Re: Keeping the NH on their toes


Had a similar problem. First contact was the Nursing Supervisor, Second the Director of Nursing and finally the Adminstrator and Physician. I was there every day - varying my times so I hit every shift. Caught Night Shift aides sleeping so I just wrote my Department of Health and Human Services - the NH got a 'wake-up call.' It's great to treat the staff with honey but when you don't treat my spouse as honey - then you get vinegar injections from the state.

Check the 'CMS Nursing Home Ratings' for the NH specific ratings in your community.

For your Concerns - Call or write -

Contacts for Information and Assistance
Mississippi Department of Human Services
Division of Aging and Adult Services
Mississippi Department of Human Services
750 N. State St.
Jackson, Mississippi 39202
(601) 359-4929
1 -800-948-3090

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