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This and That

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day, friends!

My kids have Spring Break this week (yes, apparently even preschoolers are out), so I’ve been spending a lot of time with them this week and soaking up every moment since I haven’t had so much one-on-one time since I started back to work full-time. I’m lucky that it’s also my university’s Spring Break so I’m not expected to be on campus (I’m told that the syncing up of the Spring Breaks is super rare so I should be extra grateful that it worked out this way!)

This morning started out with some green chocolate chip pancakes in celebration of St. Pat’s

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followed by some painting. The girls worked on their rainbows and we talked about leprechauns and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, etc.

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Fun little St. Patrick’s Day theme.

Truth be told, though, this week has been HORRIFIC. Seriously, one of the worst of my life. I’ve mentioned before about how, with my Dad’s dementia, we’ve had a couple minor emergencies before. This week we experienced one that took the cake and is going to cause some drastic changes to our lives.

In a nutshell….due to my Dad’s bizarre behavior (a classic symptom of his FTD), someone in the medical field thought he was suffering psychosis. They involuntarily admitted him to an absolute hell-hole state ran mental health facility. He was there for 3 days before we even knew where he was. When we finally found out his whereabouts it was through another patient’s family (meaning, no one from the facility EVER tried to contact us). There were various hang-ups and red tape to prove that the man does NOT have mental illness but, instead, has a rare form of dementia. In all, he spent 6 days in the facility. During this time he never once was allowed to shower or change his clothes, he was only fed at odd intervals, and he was doped up on all kinds of drugs (not to mention he was NOT receiving his prescribed medication which he is supposed to receive daily).

When my sister was finally able to free him from his prison (yes, it felt like a straight jail), he had THESE MARKS all over his body. Not just his arms, but across his back as well. We thought they were restraint marks…but on his back? The best part? He has NO RECOLLECTION of how they occurred. None. This is not from the dementia, folks. He hasn’t just lost full days and events at this point yet. That’s due to being doped up on something.

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We took him immediately to a doctor who documented all the injuries and ran a full chem panel (still awaiting results). We’ve reported the facility to the appropriate powers that be and are seeking legal counsel. To say it’s been a nightmare is a major understatement.

So there’s that.

My brother is flying to Utah next week to meet a realtor, do some housework, and get the Utah home on the market. But now we’re faced with moving my Dad immediately to an assisted living facility where he has more oversight. He would still be safe living alone otherwise, but since his bizarre behaviors can be misinterpreted as psychotic episodes, we do NOT want to experience any other similar situations. Having him live somewhere where the staff is aware of his limitations and can help protect him is vital. We’re heartbroken over what he’s experienced and it has been a major setback to his functioning.

So there are more financial implications to come. Retaining counsel, possible lawsuit, selling the second property, and placing him in an assisted living. Lots of money flying around. It’s a very scary thing. I’ve mentioned before that he had done a decent job of saving for his retirement, but money can go QUICKLY when you’re dealing with lawyers or paying $7k/month for assisted living. We’re definitely nervous about all that, but also feel a moral obligation (not just to our father, but for other patients of this facility) to hold them accountable for what they’re doing to others. I won’t say the name of the place, but from reading their Google reviews, Yelp reviews, and Facebook reviews, we are not alone. Every single review was one-star. Every single review had a horrific story attached. It makes me feel sick to my stomach.

So that’s what I’ve been up to this week. Plus trying to sneak in some work time here and there. The cruise is coming up quickly and I really need to get ahead so I can be away for a week and have everything set to run on auto-pilot. Wish me luck!

Ashley

Texan at heart; Arizonan on paper. Lover of running, cheese, camping, and family (fur-family included!). Blogger, motivated to get out of debt YESTERDAY! Follow along with my journey!

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23 Comments

  • Reply Walnut |

    omg…I’m horrified, enraged and extremely sad for your Dad all at the same time.

  • Reply Jocelyn |

    That is horrifying. I hope there are serious repercussions for the facility. I’m so sorry for your dad and your family.

  • Reply Julene |

    I am appalled that this can be done to someone by a licensed facility but grateful that you are going to try and hold them accountable. So many people in this situation don’t have loving family to come in and help and at the same time it was lucky that you were able to get him out when you did.

  • Reply AY |

    How absolutely awful. I am so so sorry Ashley 🙁 Praying for them to be held accountable and a great facility for him to be in next!! So so sorry y’all are having to go through this ?

  • Reply Susan |

    What a nightmare! The marks look like scratches to me, as if he were attacked while he was doped up. I am horrified that this happened.

  • Reply kmcm |

    That is terrifying. I would request all of his medical records NOW.

    I wonder, wherever he ends up in an assisted living place, if you can talk with the local police as well to see is they have some kind of a notification process. If he was involuntarily admitted, I think someone has to approve that, and I wonder if there is some way to have a trigger attached to his name?

  • Reply N |

    I’m so sorry.

    Could they have used duct tape to restrain him? Although, it wouldn’t explain those marks on his back.

    It’s possible he was dragged over a tile or stone steps. Try and get images of the facility.

    I would get copies of his chart and file complaints with the licensing bodies on every doctor and nurse who treated him. They have a moral responsibility to report any abuse in their facility.

    • Reply Ashley |

      They won’t even let family into the facility. They have a “visiting hour” (45 minutes) once per day where patients are taken to a separate room to meet with family members. It’s impossible to even see the actual floor.

  • Reply Jan |

    In addition to the civil litigation lawyer, I recommend you also retain a lawyer with expertise in Medi-cal and elderly estate planning in order to protect his assets and help with the assisted living facility. Check for attorneys with the National Elder Law Foundation or similar for one in your dad’s state.

    • Reply Ashley |

      We’ve already got an elder care attorney helping with estate stuff. We’re lawyered up over here! ha!

  • Reply Kili |

    That’s a heartbreaking story.
    I feel so sorry for your dad.
    Hope you’ll find a place where he’s well taken care of.
    How did that even happen?
    Did someone call the police / social services or something else on him?
    (sorry for being curious, I can understand if you don’t want to disclose those details for privacy issues)

    • Reply Ashley |

      No. He went to the hospital with extreme pain due to his gout (he has meds for this, but think they need to be adjusted with his primary care). I don’t know all the details because we haven’t received med records yet, but we know that the ER doctor thought he was suffering psychosis and they decided to transfer him to the state-run mental health facility affiliated with the hospital.

  • Reply Janie B. Norberg |

    I agree with Susan; those look like scratches to me.

    Do you suppose that your father was attacked by another patient? Also, is it possible that he did it to himself? (For example, he might have felt as if things were crawling all over him.)

    Your are quite right about how much assisted-living costs. However, I think that I should warn you that assisted-living facilities might not take your dad.

    An elderly friend of mine asked me to become her power-of-attorney when she was diagnosed with dementia. (Hers was vascular, rather than Alzheimer’s, but the effect was the same.) I had both durable and medical POA.

    When I investigated the possibility of getting her into assisted-living facilities, all of them refused her. They said that she would have to go to a facility that had an Alzheimer’s unit.

    I’m so sorry that your dad is so ill.

    Janie

  • Reply Kerstin |

    oh Ashley-that is horrifying. I grew up in Salt Lake and my parents still live there and I would love to know the name if you wouldn’t mind sharing so they NEVER end up there. Dementia runs in my family and my parents are getting close to possible signs. I live 1000 miles away, not close by, like you, so your experiences really hit home for me. Hugs internet friend!!!

    • Reply Ashley |

      The mental health facility is actually in Texas, not Utah. My Dad has homes in both places but officially moved to Texas this past Fall. His Utah home is just sitting vacant, which is why we’re getting it on the market now. Still deciding if we’re going to sell his Texas home, too, or rent it out when we move him to an assisted living facility.
      But, in regard to your parents, you don’t have to worry about them ending up in this place since it’s in Texas. Being a caregiver of older parents is tough! Hugs right back to you!

  • Reply Katie |

    Oh, I’m so sorry. You may also want to look into reporting the facility to the State Dept of Public Health, which has oversight. I believe he’s in Utah? http://health.utah.gov/hflcra/

    Also, I know you’re probably overwhelmed, but if you hit a roadblock, I wouldn’t hesitate to send this post to a good reporter. This is unconscionable.

    • Reply Ashley |

      He’s actually in Texas and I filed a report on the facility when he was still being held captive there. We contacted a news station as well, but since we decided to go the legal route we moved that to the back-burner since its best not to make public comments on things while litigation is occurring.

  • Reply Jen From Boston |

    OMG, Ashley! This is such a nightmare!! I’m glad you were able to get him out, but holy smokes he shouldn’t have been in there that long! And no shower?!?!?!?!?

    I hope you can take these guys to the cleaners and get them to straighten up. This is cruel and abusive to all the patients in that facility.

    So awful.

  • Reply Anonymous |

    Have you thought of getting him a medical bracelet with his diagnosis and other pertinent information? This might be helpful in the future. I’m so sorry this happened to him

  • Reply Cheryl |

    Makes me want to cry. Thank God someone contacted your sister. I am sick for the patients who have no one and are still there. Good luck with your dad, I am so sorry. Cheryl

  • Reply Mary |

    Horrific! I hope you can get to the bottom of this. It had to be very scary for him as well. He may not remember things but that doesn’t mean they don’t experience things and if he’s on medication it could have been even worse. No words for this tragedy. I’m so sorry for your family.

    My mother (had a vascular dementia) went through three nursing homes before getting into the third one which was really great. Nursing homes, assisted living facilities and all of those places are really a crapshoot. I’ve seen things that are downright appalling. The first nursing home was so horrible and my mother nearly died. Nursing homes are so full that you have to take the first available or just try to get into one and they’re all relatively poor so it’s very difficult. It’s not like you get to pick and choose because the really good ones are always full and there’s a huge waiting list. Fortunately, we were able to get her in the third one which was great. What I will say is this. Anytime you have anyone in any type of these facilities, you really have to get the family involved and have people visiting regularly to check on them. You’re checking to make sure they’re eating right, making sure they’re ok and that they’re being treated well. You can’t leave anything to chance, especially if they have dementia. My mother was at one facility and had a UTI due to a catheter that they had in her because she was wheelchair-bound. The infection got so bad that we insisted on calling 911 and they didn’t want us to. Most of these nursing homes have a doctor on staff however that doctor only visits once a month so it’s almost impossible to get to see them. What you get to see, is someone with lesser qualifications who handles most of the emergencies. When she arrived at the emergency room, the doctor who evaluated her called in another doctor because he had it never seen infection that bad in his entire life. He had never seen that amount of pus. It took a day and a half to drain. And, we had been visiting regularly so imagine if we had not. Luckily she survived and we were able to finally get her into a better facility.

    In the second facility, I came at dinner one time and dinner was a fruit cup. I was shocked. It was a nursing home that accepted Medicaid and there was only one worker to every seven patients. There wasn’t much money for food and they gave the patients an afternoon snack once a month. It was horrible, there just wasn’t enough food. Luckily she had family who could bring her food and we were fortunate enough to get her into a better facility and we didn’t have to worry about such things. She needed to be fed at that time and they didn’t have any staff to feed her so often times they weren’t going to feed her unless we showed up. The last facility we got her into was in the county that I live in which is fairly affluent. That particular nursing home got 10% of it’s budget from the county so they actually had really healthy food (and plenty of it) and provided excellent care for the residents. She was very very happy there and we visited a lot.

    My sister in law’s father was fairly affluent and got into an expensive assisted living facility. Ironically, money doesn’t equal great care. Everyone agreed that my mother actually got much better care in a Medicaid / Medicare facility then her father got at the expense of assisted living facility. You really need to talk to people and ask around.

    I’m always astounded by people who think that they can put somebody in a facility and visit every 6 months and think it’s okay. It’s not.

  • Reply Mary |

    Medicare.gov has a nursing home comparison website that is very good. It is called medicare.gov Nursing Home Compare. It compares facilities and will allow you to see their last health inspection, plus it has quality measures with regards to the patients and you can compare a few facilities against each other. It is one of the best tools that I found when I was looking at facilities for my mother. I hope this helps.

  • Reply Constance |

    Those look like marks from having been restrained. Either ropes or cloth bindings of some sort. That is the epitome of everyone’s nightmare when the elderly are treated like chattel. The fact that your dad can’t even speak up for himself makes it all worse. I like Anonymous’ suggestion that you get him a medical ID bracelet in case of future problems. Much prayer your way Ashley. And I’m really glad you’re going on the cruise. I don’t always agree with some of your budget decisions, etc., but this is your journey and you’re figuring it all out. At this stage of the game, you all deserve a reward, and I can’t think of a better way to go than a cruise. I wouldn’t spend my cash on magazines and stuff tho’. Most cruises provide such a plethora of free activities while you’re on board that I doubt you’ll stay in your room long enough to get your money’s worth. Have a blast!!

So, what do you think ?