Friday, March 25, 2011

Surprise Visit to the Nursing Home

My dad was in several nursing homes before he died. At the first 2 homes he received excellent care. He truely loved living at the second one (Morrison Memorial Nursing Home in Milton WV). Unfortunately the VA lost their contract with them and he had to be moved to a nursing home in Southern Ohio (the name escapes me now). As soon as I saw it I had reservations about it.

It was a little run down and as I watched the interactions between patients and caregivers I saw things I didn't like but nothing I could call abuse. I made sure my dad was comfortable and I increased my visits to the nursing home because I could tell his health was deteriorating. Again this deterioration was more than likely due to the seriousness of his health condition and not because of care.

He had been there about a week when he started to complain to me about his catheter causing him pain. I went immediately to the nurses and they told me he had not said anything to him but they would look into it. Over the course of the next 2 weeks everytime I went to see daddy he would complain about the pain his catheter was causing him. Each time I would speak to the nurses and they would tell me they were doing what they could and I could see that the catheter had been adjusted.

They were also telling me that he never complained to them. I assumed that he just wasn't comfortable talking to them yet and I had no problem being a liasson between him and the nurses.

One Friday evening I decided not to go to work because I was worried about him. I went to the nursing home. I was walking to his room and I could see my dad talking to the nurse dispensing medication. Both of their backs were to me and neither could see me. As I walked up I could see my dad begging the nurse for help because the catheter was hurting him. There was no way she couldn't have heard him. It was also plain to me as I stood there for several minutes that she was ignoring him completely.

Finally I could stand it no more. I walked up and told my dad to get his coat that I was taking him to the nursing home. He looked at me with gratitude as he started to wheel himself to his room to get his coat. The nurse wanted to know who I was and I had no problem telling her. She tried to tell me that I had no right to take him to the emergency room. I informed her that I had medical power of attorney over my father and I had the right and the duty to take him to the emergency room any time that I saw fit. It was obvious to me that they were not treating his pain and whatever they were doing about the catheter was not working.

As daddy wheeled back to me she told me that I couldn't leave until she did her paperwork. I told her if her paperwork was ready by the time I loaded him in his van then I would be happy to take it. Otherwise I'm sure they could figure out what was wrong with him at the ER without any help from her.

Surprisingly the papers were in my hand a couple minutes later as I finished loading my dad into the van. We went to the VA hospital. The nurse that saw him didn't even wait for the doctor to give her an order to fix the catheter. They had pulled the catheter so far down into his urethra that the balloon that was supposed to be inflated in his bladder was inflated in his urinary tract.

They treated his pain. They treated him for infection. His relief was immediate. I stepped up my visits to the nursing home. I started to look for another home to take him but it was too late.

He died a couple weeks later. (not due to the bladder issue) That is a whole another story that is elsewhere in my blog.

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