Wednesday, August 26, 2009

2 weeks in town and I'm tired and angry with the ALF...

For the past two weeks I've been in Idaho visiting my Mom and family. I always make a long to do list before I arrive but then something always happens to blow my plans and schedule totally out of the water. It always seems that I spend the last day or two cramming a couple of days worth of work into a few hours. That's one thing that all my friends mention as well - they never get enough done while they're visiting their parents. Whether it's for work or pleasure, they all want to do much more than time, energy and money permit. I like to think it's because we're such good people, we WANT to do too much.

I feel as though I'm doing a half-assed job of everything - visits with Mom, cooking for my husband and I, exercise for myself, visits with family or friends, my job search, my blog.... I don't seem to be able to do anything well... One thing is certain, Mom seems happier when I'm there and I'm rallying the care givers at her assisted living facility to pay her more attention and be more cautious.

This week the administrator asked to speak with me and she outlined what she did to address the 8 or 9 items I brought up to her two weeks ago. She was kind and understanding even when I added a couple of things to the list. I'm really irritated that I feel it's necessary to add to my list of concerns about this ALF! I feel like I must be on guard all the time. That's what we PAY THEM to do but... ... they can't train on common sense I guess. So, I'll just keep raising concerns and getting them addressed.

My latest concerns are these - these seem so very basic to me and I'm really frustrated that I'm forced to complain about something so basic:
  • Make the bed properly: Mom's bed is not placed properly after it's made. Often the top mattress sticks a foot out from the bottom box spring. If she were to fall against it, there would be no support there and she'd hit the floor. Sometimes the box spring and frame protrude out past the top mattress but the frame is hidden by the large comforter. I stubbed my own toes on the frame and cried because it hurt so very bad. If mom had done that with her osteoporosis, she might have broken a foot.
  • Move the commode then empty it: Six times now I've found that her bedside commode was not emptied. The commode is placed near her bed during the night and moved to the bathroom during the day. This is a tactic to keep her moving by getting her to walk to the bathroom. Visiting in the afternoon or early evening, her room reaked of urine so I checked the commode; it was properly moved to the bathroom but it was full, very full. To me it appeared not to have been emptied for a couple of days, not just one day. The first four times (I should've complained after the 2nd but I'm too patient) I noticed this full commode, I emptied it and told an aide what I did because I knew that they were busy. The fifth time, I was mad and told them I was mad. The sixth time, I hit the roof then told the administrator that it was unacceptable to pay more than $3000 a month for Mom to smell piss!!!!!! It seems to happen more on Fri, Sat, Sun and Mon - it makes me wonder if they are short handed for the weekend. Anyway - I'll ask my brother and sis in law to stop by now and then to check on it. When it happens I'll just call the Nursing director or the administrator.
  • Nurses fail to check details on Mom's care: There have been a couple of incidents where the LPNs or RN tell me something - generally negative - about Mom so I press for details. When they look in her file they can't find any information and tell me that they've confused her with another resident. This REALLY concerns me because it means that doctor or his nurse could get incorrect information when they call. Please see the blog entry Nurse error nearly cancels Mom physical therapy.

So - for now I'll continue to stand guard so to speak. I'll return to our home in Indiana soon and hope that Mom will be fine until I can return in November.