My wife’s first evening in her new temporary home (a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility) did not have a pleasant start. Once she was situated in her room, she did not see anyone for several hours, even after pressing her call button for more than three hours. She finally called me to ask me to look up a phone number and call the facility to tell them she needed assistance; she was not sure whether the call button worked.
So, I called. I was told the call button did, indeed work and that the nurse was going into her room at that very moment. I called my wife back and listened as the nurse spoke to my wife and took her vital signs. I overheard the conversation and made notes about it.
A few minutes later, I called the facility again and asked to speak to the person in charge. I was put on hold for a moment, then told that the nurse was speaking to a doctor, but I could hold. I chose to hold. The nurse who had been with my wife came on the line a few minutes later and I expressed my concern that it took three hours for my wife’s need for assistance to be acknowledged. She said she had been on the telephone with the head nurse about staffing. The nurse was apologetic, saying the shift she was on was seriously understaffed, in part because of “no-shows.” She went on to say the upcoming shift and the weekend shifts were much more fully staffed. I told her I wanted my concerns passed along to the facility administrator; the nurse (I’m not using her name here, but I know it) said she would tell Phyllis (the administrator) and would have her call me on Monday. She also said she would record my complaint for the record.
After having heard very positive comments about the facility, I am now extremely concerned that those comments may have been based on past experiences that are no longer valid. I am concerned that I have to closely monitor my wife’s treatment and the responses to her requests for assistance. The fact that I cannot to into the facility, physically, due to COVID-19 concerns makes my concerns doubly difficult.
This morning, I came across Medicare information that rated the facility where my wife is now; unlike other information I had found, this information, directly off of the Medicare website, ranked this facility as “Average” to “Much Below Average” in three of four important areas, with only one being “Average.” I feel helpless; I don’t know what I should do. I want to protect my wife, yet I don’t want to create more problems for her by interfering in ways that could inadvertently be harmful to her care.
I hope—so very, very deeply—the experience last evening was simply a “glitch,” an unfortunate circumstance that coincided with my wife’s admission. All I can do, I suppose, is wait to hear from my wife about her ongoing experiences, since I can’t even visit to witness for myself what is going on. Ach!