My Father-in-Law Richard
Sorry, but this post is going to have a rant in it. I really need to get this off my chest though. 2 weeks ago my father-in-law had a heart attack and it turned our family upside down. Since 2011 he has been in a nursing home because he had a stroke, and we were unable to take care of him properly because he is paralyzed on his left side and requires around the clock care. We placed him in a nursing home that was close to where we lived, had some of his friends living there, and has a long-time friend who works there as a nurse. That, along with visiting him at least twice a week, we THOUGHT we had covered all the bases of him being safe and well taken care of. How wrong we were.
Three days ago my FIL was rushed to the emergency room. The nursing home called to let us know. As we were preparing to leave, the hospital called us and said the family had better come in because it did not look good for him. We rushed as fast as we could to be by his side. We were very upset when we learned what the circumstances were that lead him to being in this shape. It seems this happened to him not because of his medical conditions, but due to neglect at the nursing home he stays at. We were beyond angry! When we were called to the hospital, we were told it was because his kidneys were shutting down, which they thought was a complication from the severe infection they found after his heart attack 2 weeks ago. It turns out his kidneys were shutting down alright, but not from any complications. He was severely dehydrated!
Since his heart attack, he has been spending a lot of time in bed because he is so weak. Well, it seems the nursing home had the view point, “Out of sight, out of mind” They never made sure he had anything to drink! Oh, according to them, they kept fresh water by his bed every day, but no one ever came in to give him any! My FIL is paralyzed on his left side from a stroke he had over a year ago, and just had a heart attack, how do they expect him to roll over in bed and get something to drink from his side table when he’s to weak to even feed himself right now?! Not only that, the hospital found out he has bed sores as well! He used to be up in his electric wheelchair everyday, zooming around being his normal, ornery self, but since the heart attack he’s become almost bed ridden. We’re pretty upset with ourselves for not seeing this happening. We go and see him every week and missed this? The hospital said that in his weakened condition though, that it wouldn’t have taken more then two days for him to get in that shape, so there was no way we could have known.
Once they got an IV in him, and we kept wetting his mouth with a paper towel, he was finally able to speak again and asked for water. He drank down 4 cups through a straw, one after another. It was heart breaking to see. We went to the nursing home the next morning and had it out with them. We are in shock, because this nursing home has always taken good care of him in the past. We cant figure out what happened, or why. This was all totally avoidable and unnecessary. Thank goodness we have that old family friend that is a nurse and works there several days a week. She came in and seen what kind of shape he was in and immediately called the doctor in. We talked to the administrator and let them know what the deal was, and warned them if something like that happened again that we would call the state and report them. Of course they apologized profusely, and assured us it wouldn’t happen again, and that they would have a special meeting with the nurses and staff about the special care he now needs. Hello, like you couldn’t figure that out on your own?
The sad thought is, what about those senior citizens out there who don’t have the love and support from friends and family like my FIL does? What happens to them? It’s to heart breaking to even think about. Elder abuse is out there and really deserves more attention then it gets. It has made me think long and hard about ways that I can get involved in bringing this problem more to light, as well as finding ways to stop it. I will definitely be talking about it more in the future.
If you suspect elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation, Click Here for state reporting numbers, or telephone the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.