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witnessed abuse at nursing home
markus8174
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2022 11:14 AM
Joined: 1/25/2018
Posts: 752


On a couple occasions in the last year I've seen one of the full-time aids on the Alzheimer's care unit where my DW resides be very short and caustic with residents. She has also been completely unwilling to help me with my DW when I've asked and she isn't the aid assigned to my DW: "someone will check on her is a while"- back to playing games on her phone. The most recent incident escalated to what I would define as abuse.  A resident keeps trying to "scooch" her wheelchair around instead of just using her feet and legs to putter about.  Of course that ends up with her "scooching" forward in the chair and heading for a nosedive thus setting off the fall alarm. After a couple incidents in 10-15 minutes of pulling her up & back in the chair and plugging the alarm wire back in, the aid roughly pushed her back in the chair. This made the resident mad, and she tried to bite the person she felt was attacking her. With that the aid slammed her back into her chair with force. Twice more in the hour I was there she had this poor lady in tears with her rough handling.  This lady can be a nuisance and requires close supervision but rather than try to figure out what she was trying to do and help her or distract her as appropriate, the aid assaulted her. My beloved is trapped there-no move is possible. I can't spend every day watching over her. They are horribly understaffed and won't easily give up an aid. If I file a report I end up making an enemy (of me and likely my wife) of an aid who has been  shown to be a bit abusive. Not a great way to ensure gentle, supportive care for my DW in the future. I'm not even supposed to be visiting in a common area to see this but I can sometimes get away with it on the weekends. Actually intervening to offer assistance or distraction for this lady would instantly get me kicked out of the common area. I hate this.
Crushed
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2022 1:30 PM
Joined: 2/2/2014
Posts: 7233


This is why I politely and repeatedly ask people to put their state in their profile
 
 

Every state has  an office that investigates such complaints and in particular prevents retaliation 

  https://aging.maryland.gov/Pages/state-long-term-care-ombudsman.aspx

 

https://app.smartsheet.com/b/publish?EQBCT=07c94438f6714af1bbfe8ff1037b8b74



JJ401
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2022 1:44 PM
Joined: 6/19/2018
Posts: 299


Crushed has a good suggestion. In my state each nursing home also has a volunteer ombudsman assigned who should be able to help.


… I'm not even supposed to be visiting in a common area to see this …

This sounds strange to me. I have never been at a nursing home here that visitors could not access common areas. 


markus8174
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2022 1:49 PM
Joined: 1/25/2018
Posts: 752


Crushed,

Not sure I want my state in my profile. The anonymity of this site is one of the reasons I feel comfortable here.  I guess the question is- If you saw the level of abuse I saw, even if it could and likely would result in some form of retaliation against your loved one, would you report it and to whom? Even seeing me as a complainer that has unrealistic expectations about the care they can provide could result  being less likely to have the best staff assigned to my DW's care. I could find my DW cared for my angry resentful facility staff or agency staff who have no investment in providing more than the minimum care.   


markus8174
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2022 1:58 PM
Joined: 1/25/2018
Posts: 752


One last addendum.  For those of you who have a loved one in long term care; have you noticed staff see some residents in a better light than others?  Does "that sweet lady in room18" get more attentive care than "that hostile old fart in rm23 ".  Do you get the feeling some patients are the "short straw" when making out assignments?  I saw it in acute care all the time and can't imaging long term care would be any better.
BethL
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2022 2:16 PM
Joined: 3/25/2015
Posts: 1009


Make an anonymous complaint to the ombudsman. Also, what about the administrator or director of nursing? Are they not concerned about quality of care?
Crushed
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2022 3:07 PM
Joined: 2/2/2014
Posts: 7233


markus8174 wrote:

Crushed,

Not sure I want my state in my profile. The anonymity of this site is one of the reasons I feel comfortable here.  I guess the question is- If you saw the level of abuse I saw, even if it could and likely would result in some form of retaliation against your loved one, would you report it and to whom? Even seeing me as a complainer that has unrealistic expectations about the care they can provide could result  being less likely to have the best staff assigned to my DW's care. I could find my DW cared for my angry resentful facility staff or agency staff who have no investment in providing more than the minimum care.   

Wow if someone was abusing your loved one would you be happy if witnesses stood by and did nothing ?  

I'm sorry  but I don't buy it  

 

No man is an island entire of itself....
any man's death diminishes me, 
because I am involved in mankind. 
And therefore never send to know for whom 
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. John Donne

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemöller


ImMaggieMae
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2022 4:46 PM
Joined: 12/12/2021
Posts: 159


This is the reason I will care for my DH at home as long as I possibly can. This poor woman can’t speak for herself.
markus8174
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2022 4:51 PM
Joined: 1/25/2018
Posts: 752


Crushed,

You and I never fail to be on opposite sides of any issue. Nevertheless, I am always glad to read your input in any topic.  The question is still, is my loyalty with my spouse or some vague, grey area of social obligation. I don't think the nursing assistants in the facility are going to rise up and start building gas chambers for residents and their families that they feel ill-disposed toward.

To others, I also thank you for your input. As I said, it would be impossible for me to make an anonymous report without it being immediately known where that report came from. While I feel badly for the treatment of that poor resident, that can't be my sole concern. I just don't know how I can go to war with the facility that is in charge of care for my DW when there is nowhere else to move her to, and little chance the staff member will be fired. Like I said, they are horribly understaffed compared to what they want to have on the floor now, and somebody has to wipe bottoms and pass out meal trays.  The aid has no compassion, but she didn't break the resident's jaw, or arm, just her heart. Being shoved roughly back into a wheelchair isn't the care I'd expect, but she didn't slap her, punch her or in any way cause the lady lasting injury.  I'm still of two minds about this which is why I posted my question. It still comes down to what do I hope to gain, and what could I (or my DW) lose by my reporting the incident. My beloved has been the recipient of retaliatory actions resultant from my expressing concerns about her care once before.  I don't see someone willing to be rough to a frail little old lady responding with, "Gosh, you're right. I realize now that my actions were uncalled for and unprofessional. I'll never behave like that toward a resident again. Thanks for pointing it out". 


Michael Ellenbogen
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2022 4:55 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 4264


II can not understand  why  you would  see this  an do nothing.
ButterflyWings
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2022 5:02 PM
Joined: 12/11/2018
Posts: 1024


Markus- 

I applaud you for raising this here and hope you get some wise and helpful suggestions  as well as honest answers from others as to what they would do if in the same situation, including if they have experienced anything similar. I have not, but would not be surprised unfortunately. 

I would hope people might be able to covertly videotape and send to the facility’s ombudsman, ED, or other oversight anonymously. Surely someone (probably all her colleagues) knows the temperament of this staffer and that they would behave this way in view of another residents’ family member, says they don’t anticipate any consequences for this maltreatment of an innocent PWD. Complicated. 

Crushed -

I think you are both absolutely right, and dead wrong. I agree 100% that if you see something, say something. That’s why I am speaking up to protest your approach. You have no right to “come for” another member in the way you just did. Accusing Markus in response to his raising this issue is a low blow, and you sir, are out of line. Again in my view. As respected as you are on these boards for your legal training and expertise, we are all equal here. 

My view: I feel strongly that you need to take a pause and think about how you are treating fellow travelers here sometimes. For example, just because you want to know where people live does not mean it is mandatory nor necessary. Your frequent and “respectful” requests really can be perceived as a bit bullying. You may know that “bold and all CAPS” is considered yelling, in  the digital space. If you choose to help, you can do so by sharing the information (as you ultimately did above) and letting members take it from there if they so choose. 

We all are doing the best we can to lift each other up, while weathering some of the worst challenges, pain, stress and losses as spouses, families, and friends of terminally ill dementia sufferers. If I were a lawyer I might enjoy the debates or more oppositional banter before agreeing to disagree. I am not and I don’t. And I find it offensive to be subjected to what reads a lot like a personal attack, and to your superior tone. It is beneath you. Please stop. 


Scooterr
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2022 5:20 PM
Joined: 2/21/2022
Posts: 90


ImMaggieMae wrote:
This is the reason I will care for my DH at home as long as I possibly can. This poor woman can’t speak for herself.
I agree with you ImMaggieMae with my DW. I'll take care of her till my wheels fall off. This just pisses me off, to hear about abuse like this.

Jo C.
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2022 7:35 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 12870


Markus, I may be remembering incorrectly, but did you not have some problem issues with the admin. staff at this facility making a decision that in order for them to continue their care with your wife, they made behavioral agreements for you as to what was acceptable and not acceptable for you and that the not using the activity room was part of that agreement or decision making?

You mention despite poor care and "retaliatory" behavior against your wife,  not being able to move your wife anywhere else; why is that so?  If there are no rooms in other facilities at this time, you can get your wife on waiting lists for other facilities and make the move when one does have an open space. If it is farther to drive, that would hopefully not be a barrier if it meant your wife would have better care and you could get off on a different, more positive footing with staff and admin. for the long term, and have more peace of mind.

Would you be more comfortable if your wife was in a small, licensed group residential home that is specifically for persons with dementia?  Far more personal and less bureaucracy.

I do recall your multiple Posts describing it as a nightmare caring for her at home when she was still there, and she had infections, inability to bathe, incontinence, and multiple yeast infections on her body; there were many challenges . . .  hopefully those particular body issues have been less where she is.

With no confidence and complaints of so very much, the idea of getting on a wait list somewhere else does seem to be an option in finding a more suitable place that you are more comfortable with.

One can indeed make a confidential contact with the Ombudsperson without giving a name; they will make a visit and discuss the noted behaviors giving the admin. staff the ability to discuss the incident with the specific aide.  Of course there is not proof, but once discussed, t the aide is more or less, "on notice," and will in all probability be more careful in behavior.

It is noted that your description of the contacts and history are significantly negative no matter the healthcare setting, that is very sad and am sorry you have had to experience that.  Hopefully you will find ways to obtain care more fitting with care expectations.

J.


dayn2nite2
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2022 8:28 PM
Joined: 6/20/2016
Posts: 3097


I couldn’t live with myself if I saw someone being abused and not only would I intervene but I would file a formal report with my name all over it.

After that, I would look for a different care setting for my LO.


Crushed
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2022 8:40 PM
Joined: 2/2/2014
Posts: 7233


ButterflyWings wrote:

Crushed -

I think you are both absolutely right, and dead wrong. I agree 100% that if you see something, say something. That’s why I am speaking up to protest your approach. You have no right to “come for” another member in the way you just did. Accusing Markus in response to his raising this issue is a low blow, and you sir, are out of line. Again in my view. As respected as you are on these boards for your legal training and expertise, we are all equal here. 

I simply said I don't buy it and why

 no accusation at all

 As to  the state issue its a simple matter of law. 


Stuck in the middle
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2022 9:15 PM
Joined: 6/4/2017
Posts: 1923


Videotaping nursing home residents is against the law in a lot of places, as it is similar to placing hidden cameras in public restrooms.  Other than that, I concur with filing a complaint.
mrl
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2022 9:35 PM
Joined: 12/4/2016
Posts: 135


This is exactly why my DH remained home, he was big, bold, and handsome, he would never

let anyone hurt him or anyone else. You must be an advocate for your DW. Be bold don't let 

anyone ever hurt them. And above all this... I buy it !!!!I've seen it....

Michele


sandwichone123
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2022 10:09 PM
Joined: 1/1/2021
Posts: 340


Markus, I would recommend reporting to the state ombudsman's office. They are aware of situations like this and should be able to intervene in a way that does not make it clear there was a complaint, or who made it. They would also be able to take any complaint of retaliation. Always bring a camera (cellphone) with you to photograph any harm to your loved one, but do not take pictures of staff or other residents.


Joe C.
Posted: Monday, May 23, 2022 5:10 AM
Joined: 10/13/2019
Posts: 887


Markus, I will pose a question:

 If someone witnessed a staff member abusing your wife would you rather that they reported the issue or just look the other way?


ButterflyWings
Posted: Monday, May 23, 2022 7:35 AM
Joined: 12/11/2018
Posts: 1024


I would likely be banned from such a center and my LO would have to be moved to prevent retaliation. An abusive staffer would not take the high road. But it still must be reported of course. As I said, the staff and admin surely already know what goes on at their place. 

It may not be illegal to videotape or photograph someone (elderly resident, as with minor children) from the back so they are not identifiable, while capturing the staffer’s behavior. If not able to document them in a criminal or APS activity then there is no visual proof. Reporter’s word against theirs. Would anything really be accomplished in that case? I think we need stronger oversight requirements and fewer loopholes but seems to be a matrix within all the various states.  

It would be good to alert her family members if possible but that could open a can of worms too.  I read the OP’s question and outreach here as what would others do, and how could this be reported anonymously acknowledging all the complicated issues in such a situation. 

DH came back from a respite with a big knot on his head and I later noticed a chipped tooth. I will never know what happened  Terrible feeling. There was definitely some neglect and possibly some abuse. The MC did not even respond to my questions. For such a lucrative industry... our elders deserve better. Many are top notch facilities which is great. Not everyone can afford that however. Sad and infuriating that sometimes you get what you pay for even in end of life care.

***Here is some guidance and several links for any of us who may find ourselves in Markus’ situation, including if our own loved one is ever abused in a facility. We recently heard about a situation that sounded suspiciously like financial abuse of a vulnerable elder. That is addressed here, too. https://www.nursinghomeabuse.org/nursing-home-abuse/reporting-nursing-home-abuse/


Rescue mom
Posted: Monday, May 23, 2022 10:12 AM
Joined: 10/12/2018
Posts: 2561


At least part of this may be taken wrong (especially since I saw nothing untoward about what crushed said) but I’m compelled anyway because it’s likely to affect us all at some point.

First the easy part: abuse should be reported. If it is a continuing problem, a new facility should be found. Markus may be worried about retaliation, but there’s already a history of issues in play at this place, as Jo cited. Markus is already on their radar, as he referred to the restrictions. At this point, reports could at least let the facility know others are watching. That could well be a plus for him.

All that said, the staff shortage is reported as a national problem. For sure, many, and by news reports most, facilities in my area are desperately seeking staff. Even the top-notch, expensive, and highly rated, need workers.

Maybe the pay is low, but even at $15-$20 per hour (above minimum wage) the shortage exists right now. Staff who work double shifts, or have too many residents assigned, etc., will get tired. Tempers will be short. Comfort(s) will be neglected. This is NOT an excuse, there’s no excuse for abuse, but I have no doubt neglect, and being overlooked or let wait, happens, even at the “best” and/or expensive, places. And I do not believe management can be depended on to knows what’s done or not done.

This is a problem that will almost certainly get worse. At the most basic, there are more people who need workers, than there are people of worker age. Then consider the type of work care facilities involve. You hope it’s not “just a job,” but even at that, there’s  not enough.

Of course you can get almost any kind of help if you pay enough, but I’m talking about what most/many people can do or pay. Right now, I would bet my house that the vast majority of families—especially out of town—paying for even high-cost ALFs would be shocked if they knew the real level of assistance dependably on hand. Haven’t dealt with enough MCs recently to have much opinion, but wandering/exit seeking seems to be the “line”;  so many with other dementia signs go or remain in AL with services promised.


markus8174
Posted: Friday, May 27, 2022 11:34 AM
Joined: 1/25/2018
Posts: 752


Jo C.,

As much as I'd love to move my beloved to another facility that isn't possible. Her 1st month at her current facility her attending physician at that time made some horrible medication errors that resulted in my DW being transferred to a psychiatric center for violent behaviors. The psych hospital corrected the medication orders and the Love of my Life returned to her room in 8 days; no issues since. Unfortunately, her history of "violence towards staff" is now a documented behavior and no matter the cause, and no facility I can find, that is at all acceptable to me, is willing to admit her.  The 2 places that I had her on a waiting list for a bed dropped her and told me she could no longer be considered for admission there at any time.

My beloved gets adequate basic care. She is clean and dressed appropriately. She hasn't brushed her teeth in 4 years but there is no solution for that problem I've been able to find. The building on her floor is in pretty bad shape with multiple issues, but only a few of them are a concern to my DW's well-being.  As to a "care agreement", I don't recall some of those details, but I had to do quite a bit of groveling, up and down the chain of command with promises to have a more realistic expectation of what was possible in a long-term care facility if they would "pretty PLEASE, consider letting my wife stay there" to keep the facility from discharging my her. Snake pit facilities will still accept residents with violent behaviors just to fill enough beds to keep their lights on.

I've got to reemphasize, any complaint, no matter how it is filed, will be immediately recognized as coming from me. First, I'm almost the only visitor on the floor. On only 2 occasions in the 2 years my beloved has been there have seen another visitor. 2nd, I was visiting in the "common area" where the abuse occurred, something forbidden by Covid policy, but they let me get away with on the weekends. I won't visit in a crowd, but mostly it is me, my DW, and another resident that is lingering over breakfast. (My DW responds better if there is a 3rd person present when I visit). That would narrow it down to me by anyone's reconning. I doubt it would trigger retaliatory violence towards my DW.  Currently she is one of the most endearing residents to the staff, and frequently gets a little extra attention, a kind word, or a friendly touch from staff just passing through the floor. My complaint is likely to end her (and my) preferred status. I have little hope it would curtail rough handling of the residents by this aid. I've only seen the 1 incident of abuse, though she has very little patience or compassion for the residents, and NEVER goes out of her way to meet a resident's need. Doing the absolute minimum required for the job appears to be her philosophy.


Jo C.
Posted: Friday, May 27, 2022 11:49 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 12870


As I was trying to recall the history surrounding your wife, I used the "Search" function at the top of the page and read many of your prior Posts from 2000 and 2001; quite a few of them are pretty much fraught with the same type of highly negative input as seen here and is the same whether for a long term care facility, or for an acute care facility, or for ERs, etc.  Your input re all is highly negative.  I am sorry you have felt that way for so long with so many, and it must make it very difficult in multiple ways.   

Is this present facility the same one that told you back in 2001, that they would no longer keep your wife due to your behaviors?  There was input discussion by multiple Members in multiple older Posts regarding that issue and also the problem of intense micromanagment which appeared to be causing problems with the care facility.

While most facilities will not accept patients who are currently a danger to themselves or others; many of them, once the patient is either adequately medicated to assist with their aggression, or when the patient has been stable for a period of time, are willing to accept the patient. Your wife, per your input, is considered a lovely person by the staff at her current facility and even show her overt affection and consider her a favorite.   She is in all probability, once again a candidate for acceptance to other facilities.

So . . . if you continue to be as significantly unhappy and mistrustful of  the present facility, perhaps it is time to begin to make transfer outreach again.   NOTE:  It is not unusual for a facility that is going to accept a transfer of a patient from one care facility to another to contact the current facility providing care to ask questions re any issues with patient or family prior to final acceptance.

Is it possible that your own personal ongoing issues of behavior with the current facility whose admin. staff ended up making a behavioral agreement with you, such as your not going to the large activity area,  be part of the problem for another facility willing to accept your wife in transfer?  Markus, I am truly not trying to be insulting or cruel, it is  a question to look at honestly and with insight, may be helpful in removing barriers.

So many of us here do have or have had LOs in care facilities whether acute care, NHs, MCs, ALFs, IL, etc.  Those of us who have had such experiences know and understand the dynamics.

Remember, nothing is as bad as what your wife had going on when cared for at home.  No hair washing for five months as one of your Posts described and no bathing during that time, recurrent UTIs, recurrent infections and multiple yeast infections across her body; pneumonias, acting out behavioral issues, and more.  The acuity of care was far more than could be managed and led to the necessity of placement where she could get the level of care she so badly needed; she was a 24 hour care issue; placement was a good plan on your part as you also mentioned it was harming your health and family members had drawn away. She is now in care and it does sound as though those prior care issues and conditions  have been mostly resolved and she is well thought of and receives affection from staff and is one of their "favorites."  That is huge in the scope of things from the way they were at home back then.

So; you probably do have an option of contacting the other facilities once again and able to report that your wife's behaviors are exemplary and she is a staff favorite and all has been well on that front for quite some time.   Since you are so unhappy with the present facility, if successful in a transfer, a new facility may bring you some peace of mind.  If your own behaviors have been part of the problem, once recognized, that can also be remedied and bring success.  I wish you the best of luck.

J.


 
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