This is a follow up review to the above review of my grandmother's care. I filed a complaint with the Colorado Department of Health because I really feel for the current residents in Sterling Living Center, especially those who don't have family to advocate for them.
The State responded in a very timely manner to my complaint and kept me informed every step of the way. They performed an unannounced survey of the facility within 3 weeks of my complaint. Unfortunately, they were unable to substantiate any of the allegations because all they can go on once a patient is gone is the documentation, which was apparently bulletproof.
The most upsetting finding of the State survey to me is the fact that the bedsore my grandmother obtained due to the lack of nursing care is not documented in any of her charting. During my grandmother's stay we went to the Director of Nursing and she appeared very receptive. She told us that she was the wound care specialist and came in to check the bedsore shortly after we spoke. I remained in the room while she measured the wound, changed the dressing, and spoke with the staff about how it should be managed. But apparently this was all for show, as she never charted it either. The State could find no record that my grandmother had a bedsore while she stayed at the Sterling Living Center.
Either my mother or I was with my grandmother 24/7 for the last few days of her life, and the the staff very rarely (as in, maybe once a day) offered to turn her in bed. The only other times she was turned was when we specifically requested it. Yet, according to the State survey of the documentation, she was turned every two hours according to MD orders. Their documentation also shows that they put a barrier cream on her every shift, which I know for a fact did not happen AT ALL the first 3 days of her stay, and only happened during the last days when I specifically requested it.
It is extremely frustrating to me that apparently this facility is competent in one area only - documenting to cover their rear ends in case of a State survey. A great deal of time must be spent to train the nurses how to document quality care, rather than spending that time training them on how to actually provide quality care. And they apparently omit from their charting anything that would make the facility look bad, such as a pressure sore resulting from their negligent care.
If I had it to do over again I would take pictures of the bedsores as proof, and keep copies of all the documentation my family was keeping (med schedules, turning schedule, etc) because the cares weren't happening unless we did. Again, I would strongly discourage anyone from putting a loved one in this facility, and use it only as a last resort. And if there is no other option, I would recommend closely monitoring the care and documenting your monitoring in case you need to make a report later on.
My grandmother had a short stay at Sterling Living Center at the end of her life. She was transferred from the hospital for comfort cares, and it was understood that she would not live longer than a couple of weeks. I have worked in healthcare, including in nursing homes for 9 years and was absolutely appalled at the quality of care in this facility. The CNAs only ever took my grandmother to the commode when I requested it, and the first day she was there I was in and out. I didn't realize until talking to the other relatives who were staying with her that the only 2 times she was taken to the bathroom that first day were the 2 times I requested it - at 9 AM and 6 PM. At the 6 PM time, it became obvious to me that she had been lying in her own waste for hours. She had also not been turned in bed at all during this time, despite standards that a bedridden patient should be turned every 2 hours. That night I was helping the nurse give her a bedbath and we discovered a bedsore (a direct result of not being taken to the bathroom and not being turned.) The nurse's response was to rub body lotion on the bedsore. She did not clean it, or dry it, or apply a barrier cream or a dressing, despite my requests for her to do so. I could go on and on about the lack of care in this facility but it would take pages. I will summarize by saying that cares were only provided when my family and I requested them, and then had to be monitored closely. Even when we were in the room, the staff would only half complete a job such as changing her linens or her personal cares. We would have to request that they finished the job completely, and we often received attitude from them over this. I understand that they likely felt defensive over how closely we were watching, but when I saw how negligent they were even with our watchful eyes I was fearful of how cares would be performed if we were not there. My family and I spoke with the Director of Nursing about our concerns, and she was very receptive. The attitudes of the staff did change dramatically after we spoke with her, but unfortunately their incompetence did not change. We had issues with a nurse offering morphine only 40 minutes after she had given my grandmother a dose (it was allowed every 2 hours) because she had not charted when it was last given. We literally had to write down every time a medication was given so that we could be sure she was getting them appropriately. My grandmother's bedsore was never treated appropriately and by the end it was getting worse very quickly. The night before she died I cried with my mom as she and I looked at how much it had progressed, and we decided not to even tell the nurse on duty about it because we knew she wasn't competent to do anything helpful about it. It was truly agonizing for me to watch my grandmother live out the last of her days in this place where no one would care for her unless specifically instructed to do so. We felt that family had to be with her 24 hours a day to ensure that she received proper care and was as comfortable as possible. I feel so badly for patients in this home who do not have family to advocate for them and must rely on the staff to be cared for. I do not know much about the other nursing home available in Sterling, but if you are considering placing a family member here, I would recommend that you look into any other options and use Sterling Living Center only as a last resort.
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