That’s how the days have been. One day it seems like everything goes into the toilet, the next hope returns. Today it’s the toilet.
The doctor issued a discharge for my mother today, with orders that she go to a skilled nursing facility for some rehab before she goes home. Not what I’d been hoping for. The only SNF she’d been in — and thus that we were familiar with — was the Forum, which has a five star Medicare rating but which she hated. I didn’t like it much either. It was dark, and seemed cramped, few windows, just creepy.
But we knew it and it had five stars, so we chose it. The case worker needed another option and suggested Villa Compana, which I recalled being on the list of places I’d looked into the night before but hadn’t brought with me. I thought I recalled it as having 2 stars, though admitted I could have been confusing it with another similarly named place that had gotten more. The c-w was surprised by the two stars I quoted, but said yes, it had had it’s problems… she thought it was better now and often sent people over to it from the hospital. And no one had come back to complain to her. She suggested I go and look at it while we waited for some administrative stuff to be completed.
So I did. It had recently been renovated, and was beautiful. Wide, spacious bright hallways, clean smelling, brand new rooms with new furniture, TV’s for each person instead of one stuck in the middle of the semi-private room for both residents to share and best of all wide windows with a great view of the outside. There was also a spacious inner patio for residents to go out into. I recalled my mother saying she really wanted to just sit on the patio under the blue sky and hear the birds.
I thought it was great. All the things the Forum wasn’t, it was. I thought she would like it. I went back to the hospital and said we’d go for that.
Then I went home and looked at my list. Not 2 stars. 1 star. One. Oh my. There was also an article on nursing home abuse associated with this facility. Granted the article was from 2005 and the rating seemed to have been given in 2009 so maybe things had improved. They were obviously trying to improve things… about then the representative called to say transportation had been arranged so I asked her about the 1 star. I told her I was quite freaked out by that. She was clearly uncomfortable on this subject. Yes, she knew about it, and assured me they were doing everything they could to improve on that. There’d been a shift of administrators just last year. Plus they had something called an angel care program that I could use if I wasn’t satisfied. She asked me to give them a chance. I said okay and hung up.
Then I found a checklist of things to ask when you tour nursing homes, things I’d not even considered but that were very important — things like how do you handle residents who are incontinent? Do you ever use catheters to manage resident incontinence? How do you identify residents who are losing weight? How often do residents fall here, and what do you do when that happens? What is your fall prevention program? What is your nurse and nurse aid turnover? etc. All of which filled me with dismay…
And then I found the medicare report itself. There were problems with medication dispensing among many other things, and the rating was not years old, but dated Jan 24, 2011. My misgivings mounted. Finally I came across a single review from a user. There were no good ones. Only this one, which said to stay away, it was a disaster and they had almost lost their mom there.
So that was the clincher for me. I drove back to the hospital, told the caseworker some of what I’d found, apologized for being so spacey, but asked her to stop the transportation order and instead try and get my mother into the Forum. She said she’d try, but it likely wouldn’t happen until tomorrow morning. I feel like an idiot. I feel guilty for bollixing everything up and causing my mother to have to stay in the hospital with her terrible roommate yet another night… and have to keep rebounding all that…
There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…
I’ve learned a great deal about choosing a skilled nursing facility — most especially that I have a great deal more to learn. But with all the problems my mother has, I feel better about her being in the five star place than the 1 star (even if the latter does have new floors, furniture and great windows… ) Hopefully the transfer won’t be too terrible for her.
I feel like my brain is falling apart. Not remembering to bring the list of the SNF”s Mother’s insurance covers sand their ratings today… yesterday I forgot where I’d parked the car and wandered about the parking garage looking for it… also spent some time searching for my house keys only to discover they were in my hand… the other day I forgot to lock the door to my mother’s house… etc.
And now I’m fighting off a new wave of guilt for sitting at home writing this blog post when I “should” be sitting in the hospital with my mother sharing her misery. But since she was asleep when we stopped in tonight, and I’ve already been over there two other times today, that’s probably not a valid source for self-flagellation.