Michigan Falling Short in Long Term Care

It is no surprise that the way our society functions is failing million Americans. I just read an article on NPR that is something that I think most Americans can relate to in some way shape or form. But this is not the only issue we are having. Medical care (insurance), child care, education, maternity/paternity leave that is paid, paying for college, or just paying for groceries are some of the everyday issues that American grapple with every day. The American wage is not allowing people to save for their kids, retirement, heck even a vacation. We also don’t have the means to keep some of the elderly in their homes because the cost of in home care is so high, you have to be a millionaire to afford it. One topic that I think is left out over and over again is adult care, specifically care of the elderly or vulnerable in the nursing homes.

I can only speak specifically for Michigan because that is the state in which I reside, not to mention spent many hours reading Michigan laws, rules and regulations about nursing homes. I understand that our country is divided in so many ways right now and we are going through some sort of “wake up”, and for some things that is beneficial to what we need, but what about our elderly?

My grandmother who is immunocompromised asked for 3 weeks for a booster shot. No one would give her an answer as to when she could get one. She finally got one on Veteran’s Day, yet it may have been too late as she was exposed to a CNA that was covid positive on the day prior.

People are pushing their call lights to have assistance, and no one is coming. Why? Because there are not enough CNAs to work. One aide may have up to 20+ people a day to take care of, and this is considered quality care when the room and board bill ALONE surpasses $8,000 a month. Um, I think not. Sounds just like another get rich scheme instead of remembering that these residents that need care are actually PEOPLE and they matter too.

The food that residents get in a nursing home is worse than what prisoners get at MDOC. The food is cold, barely palatable. Once my grandmother was given a head of broccoli for dinner and that was all. One time it was cold scrambled eggs for breakfast. Don’t even get me started on the diet she is supposed to follow because of her medical conditions; after many conversations with the administrator and dietary nothing changes. Still food shes not supposed to have and cold food that cannot be eaten followed by unreasonable excuses one after another or in some situations, ignoring me (the advocate) all together.

You may say that I should go ahead and report these nursing homes. I have reported 4 nursing homes. It took 3 months before any were investigated. Do they know what can happen in three months? Maybe they do, but just don’t care. For example, one nursing home I reported was cited for not following state guidelines. While I was reading my report, I was able to see other reports in which the same nursing home had been cited. One report was a nurse in the nursing home was under investigation for 2 deaths happening under her watch in suspicious circumstances. And guess what? While the investigation was happening they allowed her to continue to work there even though there was a possibility that her actions or lack of could have been causing residents deaths. Another nursing home I reported was cited because they withheld a schizophrenics medications from him for over a month. A month. Why? Because they said it cost too much. If you ever have a moment and want to know what is happening in these facilities look up some state reports.

I have written to my senator, my local ombudsman, my governor. and have reported numerous nursing homes. They get a slap on the wrist. The nursing homes come up with a plausible plan that makes the state happy but never follow through and are not truly held accountable for what goes on inside those walls.

I don’t know why I am writing this. Maybe to vent. Maybe to get people to be aware. Maybe to get someone who has more power and authority to listen and DO something for these people. I’m just tired of it. These people have spent their lives doing great things, working hard paying their taxes, doing community service and going on great adventures. Maybe gardening, rescuing animals, making care bags for the homeless. And this is how its allowed to be repaid? Cold food, ignoring call lights, all for sucking all the money they can from their insurance to only get sub par care? No. Absolutely not. We can do better. We need to do better.

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