The real cost of care…

This post is going to be a post of passion. I say that because I want my readers to understand that this is an emotional post for me. My family & I have been really struggling with understanding the healthy industry but specifically nursing facilities & hospice. If you are in this industry please give me insight in better understanding why certain things occur.

During my Father’s last couple months alive his health declined rapidly once Covid hit the States & snowballed when paired with shortage of workers & over worked nurses/staff. It was not only an emotional roller coaster but a very physically draining experience for my Father & my entire family.

We, like many caring for an elder that has existing health complications decided to turn to the care & assistance of facilities that claim to aid in this stressful process for a nice chunk of change. My sisters & I did the research & asked all the questions & ultimately we opted to go with the absolute best in our area. What is so sad is from what we found out, the best is not the best rated its the best out of the poorly rated. What does that mean for this booming industry? Why is it that all facilities have troubling reviews & occurrences? Is it the turn over? Coming from a Recruiter stand point I have to ask these questions.

Did you know that in 2019 there 1.4 to 1.5 million senior citizens residing in a nursing facility? U.S.A. News continued to report that:

  • 7.8% of nursing home residents were 95 years of age or older.
  • 33.8% were 85 to 94 years old.
  • 26.4% were 75 to 84 years old.
  • 16.5% were 65 to 74 years old.

Now lets jump to a different site, Institute of Aging states that by 2030 when the last of the Boomers turns 65 we are going to see a dramatic increase in these facilities by 20%. Thats a huge increase! Okay, so lets think about the quality of care at these care centers. We assume as a consumer that because we are paying a pretty penny for a good/service that we would in return gain quality service. This is where the misconception lies. At least in my experience.

You see, we gave my amazing & loving Father who was plagued with a twenty year battle of Parkinson’s & Lewy body Dementia over to a facility that checked all the boxes. It was semi new, very clean, big & beautiful. It had so many different perks & activities for my Father to partake in. It was close to our homes so we could regularly visit. The only catch was the price. My Mother who struggled with the idea that she would be relinquishing her post as loving & caring wife to a stranger felt a bit more at ease when she toured the place. She left with the notion that maybe they would take decent care of my Father for what its worth. In fairness, we all were left with the mindset that all would be okay.

As a loving daughter I would go and make sure daily that my Father was taken care of at random times during work calls to ensure he was okay & had no complaints or issues. When I could not physically check, my Uncle, Mother or sisters would. Some days it was a circus bringing my two children (7 & 5) running down the halls screaming, “Popo! We are here to get you!” but my kids brightened up the spirits of all my Father’s neighboring residents that the stress was often worth it. Then Covid struck & the doors were locked to the family members that cherished the moments with those locked indoors. Thats when the neglect began to become too much. My Father endured physical & mental abuse during this time frame. He would go with out his room being cleaned & his clothes being washed. He would go days upon days with out eating because he said they refused to serve him what he wanted from a custom menu. Things that we had issues with prior were starting to become more apparent & not addressed properly. When a Staff member pushed my Father down & he was bruised all over his arms & back we complained & the Staff member was ‘relocated’ to another part of the community. Regardless of what was said things never seemed to get better after that. I would constantly be calling the President of the facility & his HR Manager & Head Nurse only to find out that they would agree & then turn around and do the opposite. Absolutely disheartening. The straw that broke the camels back was when my Father was readmitted after a short stay at the Hospital for severe dehydration. They actually let my Mother & I go in person when he was readmitted & sit with him to make sure he drank & ate. He was exhausted & tired. We got him to drink & eat & left. The next morning I called but to no avail so I called his Nurse. She was annoyed as usual by my call but sent someone to check on my Father because he was a very early riser & an avid walker. It was 10AM & the Nurse stated that he was still sleeping. I told her to please wake him up & reluctantly she said okay. She called back only to say that he was not waking up or even coherent. I called my sisters & Mother & rushed over to the facility. They let me in to see if I could wake him up but alas I couldn’t. We called an ambulance at that point. He stayed at the hospital for 2 weeks before recovering from dehydration but was told because he had lost a drastic amount of weight he would need a peg tube to feed him.

Did you know that the New York Times reported that 1/3 of all U.S. Covid deaths are nursing home residents or workers? You know what is ironic…is that despite the facility being plagued by a few residents & workers having come down with Covid that, that is not what ultimately resulted in his rapid decline. That his decline was due to negligent care. Negligent care that occurs everyday but has been propelled much higher since Covid. The last week my Father was there he went to the ER twice in less than 48 hours. Ultimately, my Father passed on September 30, 2020 with the following: pneumonia, kidney stones, UTI, Sepsis, bacterial infection, extremely low blood pressure, AFIB, fever & was given a feeding tube via his stomach due to his inability to eat.

What bothers me is that there is not justice system for those like my Father that were neglected & treated less than because lack of staff & services. My Father might not have passed of Covid but he suffered just the same. His death was long, drawn out & excruciatingly painful to watch. He was a beautiful, faithful servant of God & was abused time and time again by the hospital’s & nursing facilities “business” models.

When he went into the hospital system the Nurses that cared for him were exhausted & over worked. When I would go & ask questions about where their assistance was they would just laugh with sarcasm stating that they are janitors, administrators, nurses, counselors etc. Due to Covid their work load tripled along with the fear of exposure. Our loved ones in turn suffer because the system is broken & skewed.

After a 2 weeks stay at the hospital IMU sector my Father was then transferred to a Rehab facility that by far has to be one of the worst facilities I have ever had the displeasure of witnessing. This is where my Father took a drastic turn. He was here for less than 4 days & in 4 days he managed to nose dive. Again, due to Covid we were not allowed in the facility. We would stand for hours outside the window staring & talking loudly or through the phone at my Father for support. The last day he was there I went with my older sister & daughter while it rained to make sure he was okay. We stood in 2 inches of mud while it poured and stared through his window while he began to radiate jerking moments from his chest outward. He didn’t seem conscious as we stared & he was not attached to a BP monitor despite his dangerously low levels. I began to knock loudly on the window at nurses & staff passing by & no one stopped. I ran to the doors & did the same. Again, no response. I began to call the front desk & through my pleas was able to get the Administrator to come physically check on my Father. When she walked in she immediately ran out of his room & went to get his Nurse. Two staff came in & immediately checked his BP & stated it was dangerously low & hooked him up to oxygen. At that point we had my Mother on the phone & she told us to call an ambulance. We did & he went back to the IMU for 2 additional weeks where he later passed in Hospice on the last day. What would have happened if we were not present?

Now I can not claim to know the inner workings of this facility, but it was referred to by his distinguished physician & it was rated decent. It was the polar opposite of what we expected. Every place he was at no matter the rating was poor. For every amazing care taker or Nurse we witnessed several unprofessional & under qualified ones. Why? I would like to learn why the healthcare system is so broken. Was the senior care industry, medical & hospice/rehab facilities always functioning at this level or did Covid make it worse?

If you are in the industry be it a nurse, doctor or staffer please give me some insight. I am more than certain that I am not the only one that has had a loved one fail to go through the system with a negative outcome. Its a much needed industry & its a difficult one to be with-in dealing with the sick & their loved ones but surely there is a way to better to provide checks & balances.


Understanding your legal rights during Covid for those with a loved one in a nursing homes. Link Here.

Elder Abuse during Covid. Link Here.