This sad story comes to us from Richmond, Virginia and was reported in today’s Richmond Times Dispatch newspaper. Wendy Reardon’s father, age 90, was admitted to a local nursing home for rehabilitation after shoulder surgery. Her father is blind and wears hearing aids in both ears.
“I was told he was supposed to see a doctor within 48 hours of going into the nursing home. It took 10 days,” said Reardon. “He got no painkillers for seven days with a broken shoulder,” she said. He was not eating. When she was asked about another medication her father was taking, she said she was told they had run out of it. She complained, she said, and people promised to do something, but nothing changed. Her father lost so much weight he was hospitalized to have a feeding tube inserted and to have a blood transfusion. By then, Reardon had already started looking for a different nursing facility for her father.
About 1.5 million Americans live in an estimated 16,000 nursing homes. By 2050, according to an Alliance for Health Reform analysis, as many as 12 million people age 65 and older in the United States will need long-term care, which includes nursing-home and assisted-living care.
How do the nursing homes in Virginia stand up? Not too well! Three Virginia facilities are on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) “worst” list — Beacon Shores Nursing & Rehabilitation in Virginia Beach, Ruxton Health of Woodbridge, and Harbour Pointe M & R Center in Norfolk. Sixty-one are on the restraint and bedsore list. Virginia’s nursing home quality overall in 2006 was rated “very weak” in a report prepared by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The rating, based on how the state stacks up to other states, is determined by information collected by Medicare.
My advice: Conduct a thorough investigation of any facility BEFORE placing your loved one in the care of others!