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Mom not getting the care she needs on weekends
Posted: Tuesday, January 8, 2019 10:50 AM
Joined: 8/11/2017
Posts: 8

Hello. My Mom has been in a memory care facility for about 18 months. Recently, as her disease progresses, she has become incontinent. She seems to be well monitored and cared for Monday through Friday, but when family member stop by on the weekend, her clothing and bedding is often soiled and her room smells like urine. I've spoken with management a number of times. Seems there is not as much staff and/or senior staff onsite over the weekends, so the care giving slips and we have to clean up wet clothing and bedding while we are there. Is this standard practice to decrease staff on weekends? Makes no sense to me since the care needs are the same irrespective of holidays and weekends. Do I need to move Mom to a full time memory care facility to ensure folks are trained in dementia care (this is half assisted living)? Would very much appreciate any suggestions. 

Thank you

Mimi S.
Posted: Tuesday, January 8, 2019 11:34 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7036

Welcome to our world Clgarvens. I'm so glad you found our site.

The situation you describe is unacceptable. I would think it is due to the management at that particular site and has nothing to do with the type of residence. 

This also has nothing to do with dementia care but everything to do with incontinence. I assume you have spoken to management? What steps are being taken to mae sure she is properly being taken care of? If the answer is that there is a shortage of staff on weekends, it's time to look for another place. Now you know one of your questions will be # of staff on weekends as compared to weekdays.

Posted: Tuesday, January 8, 2019 11:58 AM
Joined: 9/7/2017
Posts: 788

Many companies have a difficult time finding staff to work on weekends/evenings, leaving them understaffed.  The best, most tenured staff often prefer to work regular weekday hours. 
To top it off, most professional (management) staff ALSO prefer to work regular weekday hours - so oversight is less on the weekends.  Director less likely to be around, nurses less likely to be around, floor managers, etc.  Supervisory staff is likely be "backup" staff - again the best people can get the schedules they like.

This is up to the facility to work out.  It's a difficult human resource challenge for them. It's their challenge to solve. There is no excuse for having a different standard of care, a different set of standards on the weekends. I would have a serious conversation with the facility director, with the management team, and ask them how they are going to solve for this.  I would also start looking around for alternatives - and ask them how they solve for this.  

My experience was that communication between shifts, between weekdays and weekends, was the most frustrating part of having a LO in a facility.  Again, it's a challenge for them to solve.  I can bet you that unless you bring it up, the weekday management team is not aware of these issues, or is hoping you don't notice. 

So go big - talk to facility leadership - and go small - next time your mom is a mess, find the closest caregiver and ask "why is my mom a mess?  what is the standard for how often you check on her?  Is this normal?  What can we do to fix this?"  Don't go with guns blazing necessarily because you need these people on your side, but do be firm and clear.  Not acceptable. "I am not ok with my mom sitting in pee.  Would you be ok if this was your mom? Is this normal here?" This is 100% not acceptable and not how a person - anyone - should be treated.  You aren't asking for anything special here - only that your mom be treated with dignity and care. 

Posted: Tuesday, January 8, 2019 12:18 PM
Joined: 6/20/2016
Posts: 1836

This is worth moving her over.
Posted: Tuesday, January 8, 2019 12:36 PM
Joined: 8/11/2017
Posts: 8

Thank you. These replies are helpful. I have done all the things suggested. I have talked to management multiple times, I have thrust dirty laundry at weekend staff. It is still happening. As one poster mentioned, I certainly understand the staffing challenges, but come on.

This facility has gone through three management companies/changes since Mom started in the  Assisted Living side almost three years ago. 

It's gonna get real!! I needed this validation to know it's time to escalate past local management. Thank you.

Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 5:01 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 1457

I'd be looking for a new facility to see if you can do better.

Staffing is hard, to be sure, but the place that treats their employees well will have fewer staffing issues. Dad spent some time in a rehab after a hospitalization that was terrific through the week and marginal on weekends, so I looked to avoid that. The place where we placed him eventually, staffed their facility so that the two main first and second shift caregivers split the weekend off A took off Friday and Saturday, B was off Sunday and Monday. There was always a full-time professional on hand maintaining standards. Rumor is they pay a little more as well. Cars in the staff section of the lot were not anything I wouldn't be happy to drive unlike some other places.
Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 8:08 AM
Joined: 5/29/2015
Posts: 31

Would the local nursing home ombudsman help?
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