Are all care homes hopeless?

Discussion in 'Middle - later stages of dementia' started by Emac, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. Emac

    Emac Registered User

    Mar 2, 2013
    172
    Are all care homes hopeless? Talking point seems full of horror stories about care or lack of in care homes. My Mum went into care on 26th September. Naively I thought this would make all our lives better including Mums, because they would actually take responsibility for her, make sure she ate and had her medication, alert us of any health issues, inform us of doctors visits so we could attend and generally be 'on the ball' We expected better care than she had been having latterly with my Dad who I think had had enough and had become very passive about her care. However our experience to date has been far from that. So far we have had problems with getting her to eat and her losing weight while in the home. Paperwork re food monitoring not being available when we ask to see it. No-one being able to find where her weekly weight has been noted down (all of these are produced eventually), a promised urine test being forgotten about, an increase in medication not implemented, the home not calling us until after the psychiatrist had visited her so we were unable to attend (though we had requested this). On Monday we attended a care home organised Christmas party and mum arrived soiled - she is not incontinent but does need reminded and help to 'wipe'. This care home used to be the best in the area for dementia, However they lost their manger a year ago and had a year of chaos when according to other relatives standards slipped and relatives were less than pleased with the level of care. However since the new manager and deputy have been appointed things had apparently improved. However I know that they have had so many staff changes that what they have now are vacancies, agency staff new staff and a largely untrained team and the have some way to go before this all settles down. Meantime everyone is stretched and the feeling I have is that it's chaotic and disorganised with poor communication with us and between team members, though carers generally have a nice way with the residents and relationships seem good. Should we hang in there and keep nagging them or quit and look for another home? The trouble is I can't be there all the time and cant keep checking up on them all the time either. What CAN I do? What should I do? Advice needed please. I am furious and frustrated tonight.
     
  2. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,740
    If you feel your Mum is not being well cared for then I think you should look around for another care home. Often once they start a downward spiral the excuses flow for a many a year - lack of staff, staff changes, management not good, finances stretched (pull the other one) and so on and so on. Staff morale goes down, the good people leave and bingo you have an inadequate home. Sounds depressing - certainly IS!

    I would have a look at homes and be sure to read the latest Care Quality Commission Reports - not always as good as they should be but they are a guide

    Meanwhile I would put every single complaint in writing to the Manager - you are paying for good quality care (or the council is) and that is exactly what you should be getting and they should keep the excuses. Every complaint in writing has to be produced at an inspection and care homes prefer not to have too many of them because they may affect their ratings. They also have to be responded to. Not only will you be doing your Mother a big favour and stand a chance of improving things but you will also be doing all the other residents who don't have advocates a MASSIVE favour. The only way to improve is to complain

    Secondly I would copy and past the comments in your letter to the Care Quality Commission - just in case it gets lost before it gets to the complaints file!!!!
    Tel: 03000 616161
    Email: enquiries@cqc.org.uk - just head up the email with the name and address of the care home and copy and paste your comments in to save time - suggest!

    The things that you mention are very poor quality care and if they are messing with peoples' meds they are putting them in danger, they are also not respecting peoples dignity with that quality of care and they are committing a very big error by not involving family.

    Sorry you are experiencing such a poor level of care. Thinking of you x
     
  3. BR_ANA

    BR_ANA Registered User

    Jun 27, 2012
    1,085
    Brazil
    I would visit others CH and go to waiting list. Asking about staff, smelling soiled residents, checking how they control weight and medicines.

    This CH must had beer good, but it is not anymore.
     
  4. Emac

    Emac Registered User

    Mar 2, 2013
    172
    Thank you fizzie and BR_ANA. You are saying what I am thinking- what is making me hesitate is that this care home did have a great reputation and last care commission report and we have been happy with the respite care over the last couple of years. The staff are kind and mum says they are nice to her- that is in evidence. Those who have been there and not moved on are very committed and come in on their days off to paint rooms, take residents out etc. It's a church run charity so not a profit seeking private sector home. I have hope that their hearts are in the right place and things will improve long term- just not sure how long to give it- or if it's foolish to try.

    My Dad and sister are also part of the decision making process and they are reluctant to move her. We did consider a council home which I liked but it is further away and although it also had a very good CQC report and a stable staffing situation -some of the relatives of residents where we are now had moved their loved ones to ours- let's call it EH. We were even told at the residents meeting last week by other relatives that we should think ourselves lucky to have a place here! I am going to request a meeting AND put all the complaints in writing to the manager. I will also let the CQC and SW know we are still having problems. Thanks for listening and making all these suggestions!
     
  5. reddollyfood

    reddollyfood Registered User

    Apr 28, 2015
    36
    Are all Care Homes Hopeless

    3 months ago I was asking myself exactly the same question but I can now tell you that they are not. My husband, with vascular dementia was placed in a nursing home by Social Services on 30 December last year. Both he and I had never been to any care home before and I struggled to accept the situation. At 68 he was by far their youngest resident. Initially I thought the care provided was OK. It was a privately owned home. But after a couple of months things started to go downhill. There was a huge changeover in staff, no activities, poor food and nursing care. Lots of Agency staff were used and agency nurses left to run the home at the weekends as the manager only worked Monday to Friday. My husband was left in soiled clothes and not seated at a dining table to eat his meals so that he dropped most of it on the floor. I visited almost every day but I was one of the only regular visitors. I raised concerns to the manager and she promised to change things. By August this year (and after 3 months of counselling for me) I kept a daily diary of events and took pictures. I did this more for me as I tended to forget incidents. By the end of August I was really concerned and the manager told me she was leaving the following week. I visited other nursing homes, chose one I though suitable and contacted Social Services. I told them my concerns, sent them my diary and pictures and they made an unannounced visit the following day. My husband was moved within a week and the CQC investigated. Their findings were horrific - far worse than the things I had found. They published their report mid November and I am so upset that I left my husband there as long as I did. I feel so guilty I can't get it out of my mind. So if you are in any doubt about your husband's care do take action and get him moved. The care home my husband is now in is lovely. The staff are amazing - I just can not believe the difference. The place is buzzing and the activities are brilliant. Lots of entertainment and I can go and have Christmas Day with him. Sorry I have written so much but I don't have any friends or relatives who have partners with dementia so no one to tell the pain and guilt I feel.
     
  6. Emac

    Emac Registered User

    Mar 2, 2013
    172
    Please don't feel guilty reddollyfood. Sounds like you did a really good job investigating recording and reporting this care home to the authorities plus your husband is settled and happy in his new care home so give yourself a pat on the back. How can any of us know what is good or not so good when it is our first experience on the care home world. You have helped me too. My Mum's care home is organised chaos but they do have regular activities, nice food and relatives are welcome to come in any time (they even feed the older spouses who are visiting). So My situation is not nearly so bad- which is perhaps why the decision is difficult!
     
  7. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,740
    I am so very sorry to hear of the awful experience you have had xxxx Please don't feel guilty - you did the best that you could do at the time and then you raised the alarm - no-one could do better than you have done in awful circumstances. You had the courage to stand up and be the voice of those who could not speak and there will be many people thanking you for that. I am so pleased to hear that your husband is now happy and well cared for and that you are so welcomed. So bash that guilt monster on the head (as many on here have said before) and really enjoy Christmas Day - he would not want you to be sad or distressed xxx Keep posting, lots of support here xx
     
  8. Dimelza

    Dimelza Registered User

    May 28, 2013
    130
    So sorry to hear your dreadful experiences. I've experienced awful care and now wonderful care, it is out there. I looked at reviews on carehome.co.uk as well as asking visiting relatives what they thought when I looked around.
    I'm so pleased with dads care now. A huge weight has been lifted.
     
  9. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,677
    Female
    South coast
    I can only say that I am very happy with mums CH. It can be a bit chaotic at times if several of them start sundowning at the same time and the laundry is not the most efficient, but the carers are lovely and mum is content.
    There are good places out there
     
  10. Emac

    Emac Registered User

    Mar 2, 2013
    172
    todays update

    Sorry about my care home rant yesterday- I was just at my wits end with people letting Mum and us down. I am heartbroken that she has had to go into care at this point when she is still aware and knows what is happening to her and to have continued mistakes made by the home and having to keep on nagging them has added to the pain.

    It is good to know there are better (and worse) care homes out there. I still don't know what to do about Mum, leave her where she is or look for another placement. Yesterday was prompted by the discovery that Mum's antidepressant meds which we thought had been increased 10 days ago had not been changed. We had spotted that Mum was showing signs of an increasing depression, as had the care home. Dad went to the GP and requested an increase in her antidepressants. The GP who had called the Deputy Manager of the home to advise of the change insisted she told the manager she would write a new prescription and the care home could send someone down to collect it. The manager has apologized but says she understood that the GP surgery would call when the prescription was ready. The care home of course received no call due to the miscommunication and the manager forgot to check up on it. The prescription had been lying in the doctors surgery since Dec 4th. What I have learned from this and other similar mistakes is that I can't trust them to look after Mum and to do what they say they will do. I will have to continually check, in effect I will have to manage the carers- even though it's not my job:mad: On the plus side today's meeting was very positive. The senior on duty took responsibility for what had happened and apologized unreservedly. She was able to produce paperwork which let her track how the situation had been handled, and phoned the deputy manager at home to check the facts with her. She produced a folder for mum and was able to give us up to date information about her weight and the plan they had come up with to encourage her to eat. She spoke knowledgably about Mum and gave her opinion on why she had become depressed. She admitted that the home had internal communication issues which they were working to resolve. She said she would call us tomorrow when the updated medication had been delivered.This is all 100% better than it was a month ago before the new manager took over so things are going in the right direction, However it doesn't alter the fact that my Mum's depression should have been being treated by medication over the last 10 days and because of a failure by the deputy manager of all people her condition has gone untreated for longer than it should have. What if it had been something life threatening? I am still tempted to look for another care home. :(
     
  11. Emac

    Emac Registered User

    Mar 2, 2013
    172
    Thanks canary and Dimelza for the reassuring comments and to fizzie and others for the advice. I am going to leave Mum where she is for now and closely monitor the situation. I am also going to write a letter of complaint to the manager and send a copy to Mum's social worker, as I think it's too serious a mistake to ignore. The staff have the right attitude to residents and relatives, but unfortunately poor systems procedures and communication which is compromising care. We have a 6 month review in February with SW where a final decision will be made re this placement. Let's hope there are no more mistakes.
     
  12. rockysmts

    rockysmts Registered User

    Dec 22, 2015
    5
    Texas
    It is the same in the United States

    I feel the same. I almost had a nervous breakdown from my mom being thrown out of nursing homes bc she required more care then they were equipped to do. Really? Because when we met I told all these homes the issues she was having. Nothing bad, just something that meant they would have to do just a little extra work. They all said they were trained to handle Alzheimer's patients. I have had to go up to this home she is in now to get her to take her medications, to get her to eat. You want to know the kicker is my mom no longer remembers me. She sees me as a stranger, so makes you wonder why she will eat and take her medications for me. You have to be a presence at these places bc for the ones that don't have family to look out for them, things can get bad. They complain your mom is hitting staff but when I ask the CNA's they all tell me my mom doesn't hurt anyone. they said she pinched one CNA but that lady is high strung and flings patients around to quickly when changing or moving. So you know what I say, Good for you mom. These are still human beings and not sacks of potatoes.
     
  13. Dimelza

    Dimelza Registered User

    May 28, 2013
    130
    Hi again. It's reassuring that the staff have the right attitude, they're the ones doing the caring. But yes the organisation needs to be stepped up and I hope this will now be the case.
     

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