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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Not my first rodeo



I’ve been to a rehab facility four times. The first was after the stroke in 2010; Akron General has several outpatient rehab facilities available at their stand alone medical units around the city. The rehab portion of the medical center is administered by the very old rehab hospital, Edwin Shaw. My dad was in Shaw for a time, before his “walking pneumonia” was properly diagnosed as histoplasmosis, back in the sixties. I believe Shaw originally was a TB sanitarium.

When I had the bus accident, and wanted very much to be discharged from GW in DC, Shaw was the only hospital I could think of, insisted on and was spirited away to by Beth and Ruth. What lucky selection. Edwin Shaw is the boot camp of rehab hospitals, and I needed to relearn walking and thinking, among the curriculum selections.

The therapy was tough, the discipline was tough, bordering on mean. On my last day I was put in “lock down” for a minor infraction, and ignored for much of the day. I was discharged on verbal orders contradicted by the written orders. My daughter chose to follow the verbal orders, the outcome of which, I lost my job. I was told by the hospital auditor who followed up on my complaint that the doctor had been disciplined. Eye wash. I remain unemployed. This is a most bitter incident of my life.

My third rehab was this summer, for the broken leg, etal. It was at Regina. I’m sure I conveyed in my blogs from the facility my appreciation of the nursing care and the rehab I received. I always compared it to “lock down” that last day at Shaw, and the difference was night and day. The staff was always friendly, even when I had a disagreement. 

I took an informal survey and found the average tenure at Regina was ten years. Every aid was well trained. They Hoyered me into wheel chairs, helped me learn to transfer, pivot, use the walker. All this in addition to the excellent physical therapy that got me up and on my feet.

This time my sister advocated another facility she had interviewed in July. It was closer to home for her, and I selected it.  The very new and modern facility was completely disability incompatible. My complaints went unaddressed until the fourth day, when I called one of the owners with my list of problems. Finally they sent someone to rearrange the room to accomodate the wheel chair. There was nothing to be done about the clashing bathroom and exit doors.

Another complaint was the incorrect and incorrectly administered drugs. I dogged the doctor and nursing staff for much of my stay to get this corrected, and found on returning home with all the left over drugs they ordered, they still were administering generic Synthroid. Years ago my endo and I concluded generic makes me mean, bitter, unhappy. And I was, for the entire month. I could barely open the tablet to pay bills. I could not squeeze out one pleasant word for the blog.

I had one last complaint, my biggest. Call lights were not answered. I could not get up alone, get into the chair and to the bathroom. I could sit on the edge of the bed upwards of forty five minutes, waiting for a trip to the bathroom. I developed a UTI. It was not addressed until the next to last day, when, of course, I would be gone and forgotten.

The aid staff turned over daily. The nurses often were from an agency; the “staff” had quit or called-off.  One time a neighbor cried out for help so piteously I rolled down and said I would go for help. I wheeled to the nurse station, found only a custodian, who scurried off to find an aid to get this bed bound woman to the bathroom.

Of all their shortcomings, I found this the most cruel. Unfriendly, even nasty, oh well. Unresponsive—mean beyond words.

Why did I stay? It’s hard to explain my mental inability to tear myself away from the magnetic evil core. And, the physical therapy was as good as Shaw and as Regina. This staff was “contract”. Their employer was not the nursing facility. They even helped me understand how to complain. One night I waited fifty odd minutes for my bell to be answered. Angelique, the therapist, told me the lights are on timers. She turned in my “aid” to management. I don’t know if anything became of it, except my satisfaction.

During my stay I saw the femur doctor and the shoulder doctor. The shoulder fellow is past pleased with my shoulder, which I could raise past ninety degrees and put my hand to the back of my neck. Putting put old muscles to new tasks. Tough, and satisfying.

When I saw the femur doctor, he confirmed my diagnosis that the slight fracture of my trochanter would get better or worse, and probably better, which it has. Akron General wanted surgery and nailing it together, which I refused.  I told him about my unfortunate choice for rehab, and he said most nursing facilities are like that, these days. “Regina isn’t,” I responded. “You’re the fourth or fifth patient who said that to me,” he replied.

I see I have far exceeded the limit. Well, I am home and happy. Here are some pictures of the first class rehab facility at Altcare.




This is one of four or five rehab gyms in the facility.

23 comments:

  1. I've heard many complaints about nursing facilities/rehabs, etc. So if you found a good one, that is wonderful. Spread the word. But I really hope you don't have to use one again any time soon. And I just read your previous post.... can't believe you fell again! And I didn't realize that you could call 911 and they would just get you back to bed. I guess I thought they'd always take you to the hospital...

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    1. My friend who is a nurse told her sister in Florida to call 911 to help get her husband up if he fell. They have, several times. I gave it a try and it worked in Ohio.

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  2. Your post reminded me of an old friend who had a stay in a state rehab facility here in California. Those without insurance were funneled into such a place. This friend needed assistance when using the lav. She'd pushed her call button to be retrieved and no one came. She was in pain. I could hear her sort of plaintive cries as she sat waiting. It was upsetting, so I tracked down an employee. She was making small talk with someone in an adjacent area. I told her the situation and either she didn't believe me or thought that it was perfectly acceptable to carry on while a patient was suffering. She made sure to finish up the chatting before returning to assist my friend. I thought my head would explode. -glad you're home. x

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    1. The employees spent their hours chatting, laughing. My friends who came to see me said no one turned to acknowledge their presence, even at the reception desk.

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    2. Repugnant behavior by staff.

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  3. why do people go into nursing that don't like the job or can't be bothered to do it? well, I'm glad you're home.

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  4. I am beyond glad that you are home and happy.
    And how I wish that your ezpertise in rehab facilities had not been necessary.
    Sadly, while money is the bottom line I suspect that more places like the last will emerge. And thrive.

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  5. This complete variation in standards from one facility to the next is unfortunately the norm in the UK as well. You have to check out which are good ones and which are bad ones. I'm sorry you've had to endure some very badly-run places. My mum was lucky enough to be in a very well-run care home for her last 9 months. The staff couldn't have been more attentive or caring.

    Best of luck with the continuing rehab.

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  6. Good luck with your rehab
    Coffee is on

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  7. Nothing more cruel than being mean or dismissive of someone who needs help. Kind of makes me hope there really is a God.

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  8. Hari Om
    oh yuckeroonies. Having been a health professional, it makes me spit chips when I read of stuff like this. Let's hope you won't be having to do any more comparing in the future... steady on ol' gal!!! YAM xx

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  9. My experience of those facilities is that most are indeed very bad and cruel. That is what kept me very busy and vigiliant while my dear late mom was in care for many years. Thank God there were a (very) few good, decent and kind people mixed in but that didn't quite make up for the bad. The facility you're showing in the last few photos is wonderful...so much space.

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  10. I have had experience with nursing homes/rehab facilities with my parents and my husband. While the PT has always been good, the rest of the care has been (including food) complete neglect to just OK. The cost of these facilities is beyond what most can afford and Medicare only pays for a limited amount of days. Unless you are very rich, excellent care (which should be expected) is out of reach.

    I pray that you will continue to improve, Joanne. You keep fighting, girl!

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  11. I'm so glad you are home. This is not a good report to read as almost all of us will be in your boat somewhere along the line. When my father was in a facility, it was most difficult to make certain he received what he needed. I was so far away. Doesn't seem right and I'm not certain how to make it better. Essays like the one you have written here will most certainly bring more awareness. Rest, heal, and do your rehab. Not like I have to tell you that.

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  12. Those facilities should be covered in shame. How dare they mess with the lives of patients. If more voices become public and loud, would they improve?

    So glad you are home.

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  13. Since it seems that most hospitals try to get their patients out as quick as possible and that usually means a stay at rehab or other such facilities, it seems like those facilities should be able to provide more than mediocre care. Sad statistics if 1/4 of your stay was a good one; 75% lacking. Not good enough Glad you are home!

    betty

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  14. It is so hard to find caring competent medical care. You shouldn't have to fight so hard to get well.

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  15. Glad to see you back blogging. It's worrisome when a blogger "disappears" for a month. Hope the rehab continues with no more incidents.

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  16. Glad that you are back home feeling better, hopefully rid of the generic sythroid and blogging again.

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  17. Quite a lot of this reads like a horror movie. Uncaring staff? Unanswered call bells? That's really bad. I'm glad you are home again and away from all that.

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  18. Unfortunately, you have become an expert on rehab facilities. Let's hope you don't have to repeat.

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  19. That's enough. We are all very glad to have you home. I have only one rehab facility in my portfolio, and there the food was so inedible that G brought me dinner every night.
    Yes, no Synthroid...we like you the way you are right now. So very glad to see you.

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  20. After my dad's stroke, he was sent for six weeks to a small local rehab unit. He might as well have stayed in bed in his hospital room. Except the nursing staff at the hospital was almost as bad. Not a whole lot of compassion was to be had. Like Ellen above, I often wonder why a good many of those I encounter in the medical system ever went into that line of work.

    I'm sorry you had to go through that. Being injured or sick is quite enough -- we don't need negligence on top of everything else at those vulnerable points in our lives.

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