Just another busy, short-staffed Nursing & Rehab Ctr. My 81 year old mother fractured her right hip, and was s/p gamma nail fixation. Because of her prior hx of strokes, having had anesthesia, and pain meds, along with her age, she remained mostly confused during her stay. However, I do not like what I saw. Westview staff falsely reassured family that nursing and physical therapy work closely together to make sure patients are adequately medicated prior to therapy; however, to my horror, my mother was almost sent to therapy without being adequately medicated. On another occasion, when occupational therapy came in, my mother stated that she had to have a bowel movement right away - she was transferred to the bathroom, the therapist came out to get my mother's comb, then went back in to the bathroom to assess my mother combing her hair - in other words, Westview was performing OT while my mother was sitting on the commode, in pain, and trying to have a bowel movement. There were numerous medication transcription errors, one included my mother getting abdominal injections 5 days longer than her doctor ordered. When my mother complained of pain, I lost count of how many times we were told, "I'll get to her when I can, I have 30 patients!" One day, I came in early, and while walking down the hallway, I could hear my mother's hoarse voice calling out my name. Upon entering the room, my mother was naked, and pulling on her urine catheter. My mother was so confused she didn't know to press her call light, so I pressed it, and started dressing her. When the nurse came in, I told her how I found my mother and that there was a lot of blood in her catheter. The nurse replied that they were short-staffed this morning and lots of patients get blood in their catheters just from the process of turning. I again repeated that my mother was pulling on her catheter, there was a lot of blood in the catheter, and she was on Coumadin, a blood thinner. When my mother improved somewhat and the catheter was out, either I or my mother would press the call light when she had to void. Ususally, a nurse would come in, turn off the light, announce that she had to go find someone to assist because my mother was a two-person transfer, and we would wait, because again, they're very short-staffed....on one occasion my mother waited so long in her wheelchair, and she had to void so bad that she started crying. So I wheeled her out in to the hallway, and there were other staff passing by, but no one offered to help my mother to the bathroom, they just said to put on the call light; and I would reply that we did put on the call light, and the nurse came in, turned it off, and left. When my mother started getting more active, but still somewhat confused, for 2 days in a row, she tried to get herself out of the wheelchair. For these 2 episodes, since I was at her bedside, I put on her call light and stood in front of her wheelchair to prevent her from falling, and we waited and waited, and I could hear the nurses right outside her doorway because there was a hallway charting station there, but no one came in until I would yell out, "I need some help in here." So I called my mother's doctor, and said that we wanted out of Westview. And the day before discharge, while I was at home accepting a Hoyer lift for my mother's at-home care, I get a call from Westview saying that my mother apparently tried to transfer herself to the bathroom, they found her on the floor, and were sending her to Day Kimball ER so she could be checked out. When I asked my mother what happened, she said that she put on her call light for assistance to the bathroom, but no one came. And that's not the end of this story....the day of discharge, with check-out at 11 am, the nurses get my mother up in a wheelchair next to her bed early in the morning, and housekeeping comes in, strips her bed bare, and starts spraying all these cleaning chemicals on everything. Unbelieveable! So I took my mother, and all of her belongings, and waited in the lounge for personnel from the med-van transport to take her home.
by D. Hwalek
May 08, 2011