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Thread: Fear of Retaliation from Nursing Home Complaint

  1. #1

    Fear of Retaliation from Nursing Home Complaint

    Looking for advice on how to file complaints to the nursing home without fear of retaliation. My mom has been in there since June and developed a pressure sore in August (nursing home blamed it on moisture). I spoke with the Exec Director in person and sent her an email to note that she rarely gets turned at night (maybe once at night which means every 6 or 7 hours) which is unacceptable and what is the plan to get this addressed ASAP. They are going thru alot of changes (they got rid of alot of people and I do not know what the next plan is). Her last email to me was that she gave this info to the interim nurse director.

    Last night my mom did not get turned at all (sounds like the aide was someone new). I am ready to write and call the exec director again (spoke to her in person a month ago, sent her another email last week). But my family is reluctant in fear that the aides/nurses will retaliate against my mom (And understandable. My mom is C3 incomplete and cannot do much on her own). My mom calls for water at night (alot) and one night a different aide came in frustrated after she hit the call button stating she was doing it too much and said I already gave you water before and then just turned the call light off and never gave her water. So these are the type of things we are worried about in the middle of the night if we complain. That no one will attend to her at all.

    There are a few rare aides that are great, so some do know how to do their job there.

    I expressed to my family that we need to voice now because if my mom's pressure sore gets worse, we need proof that we spoke up. But my dad is frustrated that he complains and nothing changes so his view is why bother. And then my mom is so worried that they will treat her worse.

    I wanted to write a note again stating these people need to do their job, so what is the plan? But this may just be falling on deaf ears now. We hear alot of oh this is not good. Not right. We will bring it up etc etc. But no change. My sister says there is only 1 aide working at night, so the aide probably doesn't have help or support. My mom says oh the aide was nice though. I find that excuse ridiculous as why is it our problem if they don't have enough help? If my mom's sore gets worse, we will regret we never did anything or spoke up in fear of retaliation, or that oh it's not the aide's fault because she had no help (I tell them being nice does not cut it!).

    But I do want to tread lightly because I will hate if my mom got zero attention at night moving forward because of my note. And if it has been a month and no change, would the state long term ombudsman be a better way to go than me writing another email to the exec director?

  2. #2
    Get a lawyer now. Don't wait.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    I really admire your dedication to your parents. You are doing the right thing, stay strong, don't give up. I wish I could be helpful with your situation.
    Attack life, it's going to kill you anyway
    Steve Mcqueen (Mr Cool)

  4. #4
    What about your mom having an air pulse mattress. My wife recently spent time in a short term rehab facility and they provided this after some negotiation. It might meet your mom's needs. She might not then need to be turned by some overworked, under trained, maybe aide. I really think you may need to let the nursing home know you have a lawyer and if something bad happens they will see you in court. The administrators of the facility may be more easily intimidated by you and as to the unmotivated, perhaps uncaring aide you may want to confront that person and let her know bad things can happen to people at the end of their shift in a dark parking lot

  5. #5
    Can you move her to a different facility?
    Is there a state-run ombudsmen program in WA state as there is in SNFs in CA?
    Who is paying for her care?
    Have you met with the administrator & director of nurses?
    Have you reported to the state agency which is responsible for SNFs?

    (KLD)
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by baldfatdad View Post
    Get a lawyer now. Don't wait.
    First, I second baldfatdad's suggestion. Secondly, for years I followed the life of a para friend who lived in a nursing home due to multiple health problems. One was a mental health challenge, although i do not know who would NOT suffer mental health problems living in a nursing home. She studied the nursing home regulations and filed repeated complaints. It is the only way to force change on behalf of a resident and, while some workers might try to retaliate that is against the law and one files yet another grievance and that person gets fired. The workers know this, or should.

    As you say, filed grievances are also key documentation in proving a home culpable should your mom suffer worsening or severe wounds, which is inevitable given what you said.

    The relationship is necessarily adversarial because homes are not paid enough to keep staff, supposing they could be found in this employment environment.

    Onr last suggestion- get your mom a camelback water sack. It can be placed by her pillow at night and all she must do is turn her head to suck on the mouthpiece. https://www.amazon.com/CamelBak-Crux...s%2C199&sr=8-5

    The nozzle can be tied to something on the bed to keep it accessible for her. This will be a big relief for everyone.

    At present you are hesitating to be more forceful, perhaps out of deference to your dad, while he is caught in discouragement. So you are deferring to discouragement? I'm pretty sure you are on the path wherein you must assume more and more responsibility for your folks lives. It is an emotionally difficult change in relationship to negotiate, but everything you said strikes us as very sensible.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by baldfatdad View Post
    Get a lawyer now. Don't wait.
    If/when you get a lawyer >tell no one< especially mom and dad. When the facility finds out you have legal aid, the dynamics change drastically.
    In most cases they will not talk to you directly at all, but will talk to their legal department who will talk with your lawyer who will then talk to you. See what I mean? One important issue may not reach you for at least a week or more.
    Same thing if you file a complaint. Keep it confidential as long as possible, until the paper work arrives at the facility.

    Your mom should be on an alternating pressure mattress (preferred) or at least a Low Air Lose (LAL) mattress.

    Your parents must have shown you true love. You are reciprocating it now. Admirable.
    Attack life, it's going to kill you anyway
    Steve Mcqueen (Mr Cool)

  8. #8
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    The Camel Back is a very good idea. In my dirt bike days, I put watered down GatorAde in mine. Put in the freezer the night before a ride. Was able to drink it all day as it melted. The hose is long enough that the bag can be hung on side of bed. Hydration is more important than food.
    Attack life, it's going to kill you anyway
    Steve Mcqueen (Mr Cool)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by rainingblue View Post
    Looking for advice on how to file complaints to the nursing home without fear of retaliation. My mom has been in there since June and developed a pressure sore in August (nursing home blamed it on moisture). I spoke with the Exec Director in person and sent her an email to note that she rarely gets turned at night (maybe once at night which means every 6 or 7 hours) which is unacceptable and what is the plan to get this addressed ASAP. They are going thru alot of changes (they got rid of alot of people and I do not know what the next plan is). Her last email to me was that she gave this info to the interim nurse director.

    Last night my mom did not get turned at all (sounds like the aide was someone new). I am ready to write and call the exec director again (spoke to her in person a month ago, sent her another email last week). But my family is reluctant in fear that the aides/nurses will retaliate against my mom (And understandable. My mom is C3 incomplete and cannot do much on her own). My mom calls for water at night (alot) and one night a different aide came in frustrated after she hit the call button stating she was doing it too much and said I already gave you water before and then just turned the call light off and never gave her water. So these are the type of things we are worried about in the middle of the night if we complain. That no one will attend to her at all.

    There are a few rare aides that are great, so some do know how to do their job there.

    I expressed to my family that we need to voice now because if my mom's pressure sore gets worse, we need proof that we spoke up. But my dad is frustrated that he complains and nothing changes so his view is why bother. And then my mom is so worried that they will treat her worse.

    I wanted to write a note again stating these people need to do their job, so what is the plan? But this may just be falling on deaf ears now. We hear alot of oh this is not good. Not right. We will bring it up etc etc. But no change. My sister says there is only 1 aide working at night, so the aide probably doesn't have help or support. My mom says oh the aide was nice though. I find that excuse ridiculous as why is it our problem if they don't have enough help? If my mom's sore gets worse, we will regret we never did anything or spoke up in fear of retaliation, or that oh it's not the aide's fault because she had no help (I tell them being nice does not cut it!).

    But I do want to tread lightly because I will hate if my mom got zero attention at night moving forward because of my note. And if it has been a month and no change, would the state long term ombudsman be a better way to go than me writing another email to the exec director?
    Take pictures and get a lawyer. Only thing you can do. Someone has to pay for this. Rather be the nursing home rather than taxpayer. If you have to go to another nursing home so be it. The one she is in not doing it's job anyway. Nothing to lose.
    Art

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by ancientgimp View Post
    What about your mom having an air pulse mattress.
    Yes, I had my dad tell the facility my mom needed this and they were surprisingly quick to get her one (about 2 months ago).

    Quote Originally Posted by ancientgimp View Post
    The administrators of the facility may be more easily intimidated by you
    That's what I was hoping for but being that I have not seen any changes with the rotation at night, I'm not so sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by ancientgimp View Post
    and as to the unmotivated, perhaps uncaring aide you may want to confront that person and let her know bad things can happen to people at the end of their shift in a dark parking lot
    Ha! I like this one! It is quite heartbreaking to see how some of these aides/people can be so nasty to people in need. I've seen this happen at inpatient rehab as well with my mom. I was sleeping in the room with her and the nurse thought I was "asleep". I heard her snap at my mom when my mom asked her to do a few things to try and get comfortable in bed. But I was reading another post on here where they brought up some stuff to the staff and next thing ya know, it took longer and longer for people to attend and give help. That's what I worry about after complaining.

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