My husband knows that i am going to write a blog entry using our personal experience as background for my assessment of the American Nursing “Facility” aka Nursing Home.
I will not use the names of the hospital,nurses,doctors or the nursing home itself. Furthermore,none of these personal events are related to the COVID-19 virus.
My husband was hospitalized in our home state. He survived cellulitis,sepsis,endocarditis and 2 strokes. I owe a debt of gratitude to all the doctors and nurses who treated him. More than them i have to thank God. He had anointing of the sick.I attribute his miraculous recovery more to the grace of the sacrament than anything.Once he came home he suffered congestive heart failure but we had him admitted to a totally different(excellent)hospital here.
Unfortunately we both made an error in judgment when he first showed signs of cellulitis from his knee down to the toes. He had his first SEVERE case and we didn’t realize how serious it could be-he had several episodes of MILD cellulitis in the past and we wrongly thought it would just clear up.
He saw his family doctor probably 2-3 days after it started.He put him on antibiotics and recommended he go to the hospital. Husband said he would give it a couple days while he took the antibiotic. His fever came down but it was too late for the complications that had already set in.The weekend went by.
Come Monday the pain was so excruciating he couldn’t take anymore. He went to the ER by ambulance. He couldn’t walk. I can’t even describe how terrible it looked. He spent less than 3 days in the first hospital when they transferred him out to a higher care hospital.
They ran 2 tests and transferred him out from there immediately to an even higher care hospital. They had called me to get consent for the 2nd test known as the t-scope. It takes a close look at the heart. I still had no idea how serious it was but they gave it a name at the next hospital he was transferred to.Endocarditis.
Soon they would tell me he had to have open heart surgery on his mitral valve. All this in less than a week.I had no idea what endocarditis was. I was still ignorant of the fact that cellulitis could even go into sepsis. I did a ‘crash course’ in endocarditis,sepsis,cellulitis and mitral valve replacement on all the credible websites i could find.I was stuck at home and did nothing but read morning,noon and night when i wasn’t on the phone with my husband and hospital.
I finally went to the hospital with his son to sign the consent forms. Long story short; he was out of it and could not give consent. You see, one day i talked to him over the phone and he told me had a test.I assumed it was a routine test. I called the nurses at the front desk-as i had been doing all along-to see what the test results were.
It was not routine .He had fallen out of bed and they sent him down for a CT scan. I wasn’t that shocked . I had to call the hospital after the visit to tell them my concern that his bed railing was down. They made up an excuse. After the fall and the cat scan they moved him to a room in eye sight of the nurses station.They knew they were at fault.There were no injuries from the fall but it did reveal he had suffered stroke at some point.
I knew from the visit and our phone conversations that something was wrong;the test results confirmed it.I am convinced the stroke had occurred back when he was admitted to the 1st hospital and they just didn’t catch it.The 2nd hospital didn’t catch it either but he was never admitted because of the immediate transfer so they wouldn’t have had much of a chance to see the signs anyway.
By the way,i tried to get him transferred to the Cleveland Clinic after meeting with the surgeon who was going to do the open heart. I wasn’t impressed with him anymore than i was the hospital. The plan to get him to Cleveland fell through. The insurance would not cover the whole transport due to the distance. i was crushed. Of course,in the end,i decided not to give consent anyway. We’ve since been to the Cleveland Clinic.
I also knew after the visit he wouldn’t survive the open heart surgery and while the dr scheduled him for the following Monday i struggled with the decision. I stopped struggling,went with my gut feeling & decided against it. I called the nurses station & firmly withdrew consent. I made that call in tears but know to this day it was the right decision.
He was then moved to a lower floor for rehab. I called often to see about his discharge and was told he had to go to a nursing facility. I said no. He was to come home and i would care for him here.I would get the help that was necessary. Oh hell no-he had to go to a nursing home.
They would not discharge him unless i chose a nursing home that had a bed available and offered rehab. The home could either be in their location or up here. I took the facility up here. I figured if he were closer to home it would be easier to get him home.Turns out it t wasn’t a heck of a lot easier but it was close enough i could get him transported home. BINGO.
The nursing home was quite the experience.It was another fight to the finish to get him out. It’s ok if you’re a patient that would like to get back in bed & you don’t mind an hour wait for a nurse to come in and help.
It’s a great place if you want to struggle to go from one end to the other in a wheelchair. You know what it’s a great place for-to dry up your insurance until the payment runs out and you’re no longer covered.You know what they’re good for-MONEY and they will clean house until there isn’t a dime left.
Who monitors these cash cows? They’re called a nursing home? You mean a glorified babysitter for the elderly or infirm. Thank God there are in home services these days and a nursing home is not the only option. He’s here,been here. I think in part because i did enough jumping up and down to the ‘caseworker’ as they’re called.
He still requires surgery to repair the mitral valve. We’re working on that.
The surgeon mentioned he would need rehab after the surgery. The answer is NO. This means a nursing facility again. It is NOT going to happen. We are still discussing whether the surgery will be open heart or minimally invasive.
The COVID-19 virus would have put a hold on the surgery but it’s about the amount of time we were given anyway.We are going to see if it could wait a couple extra months,that is until August. We know he can’t go past a year but we’re hoping August will be safe enough barring any symptoms getting worse.
So far,so good. His oxygen levels have been good and he’s not doing badly except that he still shuffles his feet; a leftover problem from the strokes.You would have to know his previous condition to marvel at how far along he has come;shuffling his feet is no big deal. The nursing homes so called ‘rehab’ did him little good.
Were the hospital honest they should have just said his insurance had run out and a longer stay would not have been paid for. Don’t tell me their insistence he stay until they had a nursing home lined up didn’t have something to do with his insurance coverage.
It’s what known as a network. I can tell you he won’t ever go back to the original hospital that placed him in this network to begin with.Was that ever a mistake.
I want to be clear though. I am NOT faulting ALL nurses or doctors. I wasn’t available 24-7 to be certain of the care he was getting. I could assume certain things but you can’t go by an assumption.
We’re grateful that he survived at all. On the other hand i believe that my criticism of nursing homes in general is warranted. I especially resent that I was basically forced into having him placed in one.
It was NEVER my choice.I made that clear to them until they made it clear to me they would not discharge him until I agreed [unless i let him be released without a doctor’s consent].For one,I had no way to transport him home.
They definitely had me over a barrel.
I will say this about the nursing home and give them(NOT the caseworker)the benefit of the doubt and say it’s possible they are understaffed.
As for the distant ‘higher’ care hospital [before the nursing home] i have one other valid complaint. When his son and i went down to see him we took his favorite bathrobe with us.
It was brand new. He requested it. I also placed an order from for a teddy bear,box of Godiva Chocolate and roses. The only difference is that i made a special request NOT to include the glass vase;concern about it getting broken in the hospital. I figured the hospital would have an appropriate container.
The company notifies you of the delivery. Husband had confirmed it but it was nice of the company to confirm it too. Some don’t.
I always told him one day i would get him Godiva chocolates as a gift. He loves chocolate and Godiva is primo as chocolates go.I’d gotten them for my mom once.They’re primo for a reason. They also have a primo price; but worth it.
The order was delivered.
He got maybe one piece of the chocolate. When he came home he was missing the teddy bear. The roses were gone if he ever had them;but you could attribute that to their dying. They wouldn’t have lasted long enough or been transported with him anyway.
There was no excuse for the new bathrobe or the teddy bear. Those things should have been with him.i checked with the security at the hospital. They were not turned in.
Husband was incapacitated.
He definitely did not get up and lose everything.
They kept him in bed for nearly his whole hospital stay.The only people he knew were me and the family HERE that visited him the day BEFORE he got the delivery.
NOBODY would have been in the room with him BUT hospital staff. The robe and stuffed animal were not with him at the nursing home and they made certain all his belongings came with him when he was discharged.
I called the responsible hospital back,told them what the order cost me,did not include the bathrobe in the figure and they told me they were not responsible. They weren’t going to reimburse a dime.
Yes,they were responsible and their response was par for the course as far as I’m concerned.
If you have any comments to make re your own experience with a nursing home for good or ill PLEASE add your comments. I definitely would like to hear these!
The Covid-19 Virus showed us the shortcomings of these ‘homes’ or facilities as they call them.I wish someone in the media would do a more extensive investigation.