Before I start, please understand I'm not posting this to "dis" health care workers. There are many good, hard working, caring people in nursing homes, and I thank God for them. The reason I am putting this on the internet is because nursing homes will never admit there are also lazy, incompetent, and abusive people working in nursing homes. They also wont admit they allow under staffing, and don't always fallow their own rules. Nursing homes have their place, and for the most part take the burden off family's with very ill relatives by giving the ill a place to stay where there are people to watch over your loved one. Remember though a nursing home (even non-profit ones) bill for what they do, and just as you would not by a car site unseen, you should check out a nursing home that will be billing $40,000-$80,000 per year for the care they give. No two nursing homes are alike, The make-up of the residents, staff, and administration will make a place right or wrong for your loved one.
Ask a lot of hard questions.
I have lived in a nursing home going on 6 years, and the fallowing observations are just that. I make no claim that I am an expert in long term care. I am approaching this as a layman, with a layman's point of view. Understand that the staff of any nursing home are made of people. They have bills to pay, kids that get sick, roofs that leek, and other things that we all can relate to. It's hard not to bring your home life to work and be "professional" when life keeps throwing things at you. Part of the problem in nursing homes, in my opinion, is that workers are expected to have no flaws. Your expected to act like a robot and often that leads to residents being treated like objects not people.
The only industry regulated more then nursing homes are nuclear power plants. Everything that's done for a resident has to be documented, and medications have to be charted in three places. You may ask "why is that?" Well one reason nursing homes have had so many rules imposed on them, and must prove so hard they fallow them is because given the chance they wont. Even today nursing homes often do only what they "have" to keep licensed. Even regulatory agencies require nursing homes only meet what they call "minimum" standards of care. I will show examples of what I've seen later.
Nursing a band of gypsies?
Over the years I've seen nurses, and aids hire on quit, or get fired go to another home do the same then hire back on here. The fact is that most nursing homes won't try to get any ones license pulled unless it has to. I ask an administrator why nobody is willing to clean up the industry. His answer was as simple as it was truthful. If the nursing home pursues someone's license it means the are out the time and expense of filling the paperwork, and are putting them selves at risk of lawsuit from the employee and those they cared for. Also the news headline will not be "Nursing home cleans up profession." It will more likely be "Nursing home employee found using residents drugs (or what ever they were accused of)." If a nursing home knows someone it steeling, taking drugs, or abusive it's easier to fire them so they become someone else's problem, no bad PR. I have seen nurses not pas any medications on the shift they worked, but (in one case) pocketed 26 narcotics. I heard weeks later she was still working in another nursing home.
I have seen employees "barrow" hundreds of dollars off residents and never pay it back. Anything of value that can disappear sooner or later will. Employees aren't the only ones that will steel ether, other residents that mistakenly think something is theirs, or simply think they disserve it more then the owner. Nursing homes seem to think everything is community propriety also so don't be surprised if your loved one seems to be using something you've bought them at a rather high rate. Aids don't get paid to make sure only grandma uses her soap and toiletries. Make sure you keep an accurate, and up to date inventory of everything your loved one has. If something turns up missing nursing homes will tell you they can't be responsible for loose. RAISE HELL! A nursing home will reimburse you a few bucks if they think they will loose a resident worth $40,000 a year. Don't keep any thing that can't be replaced or is worth over a couple hundred bucks.
One thing that really burns me is the double slandered nursing homes have. If a resident asks for a medication early they're told "I'm sorry but you'll have to wait until it's time." It doesn't matter that you may be in pain or really need it. On the other hand if they get busy or forget to give them on time (I've gotten my noon meds as late as 8:00 pm) the resident is just suppose to take "I'm sorry, I was busy." and not raise a fuss. Your expected to eat when they say not when you want. And if you break one of there rules you'll be charted as non compliant. They don't always comply with the rules and regulations, but of cores that's different.