Earlier this year, my mom suddenly fell ill and had to be hospitalized. She ended up being diagnosed with blood clots in legs, 2 slipped discs, acute renal failure, a broken tailbone, and meningitis. She also might or not have had broken ribs- they never decided on that. After being placed in the hospital, she got a staph infection, cellulosis, internal bleeding due to them overdosing her on blood thinners, and aspirant pneumonia. This is not about any hospital though.
Eventually she was moved to a rehab center. Rehab centers are like nursing homes but are supposed to be short term and focus on rehabilitation. This is where it gets interesting.
The place she was sent to is called Regency Rehab of Council Bluffs, Iowa, formerly and commonly known as Woodlands. We found out very quickly that this was a facility with substandard care.
First, the staff there treated my mom like a retard or imbecile. They talked to her like a little kid and refused to tell her anything or explain anything to her. This was despite the fact that she is not and never was the least bit senile. We told the staff that several times, but they continued to treat her like a child the whole time she was there. I had to complain to the office in order to find out for her what the medicines were they were giving her. She did not know and they wouldn't tell her. One turned out to be Cipro- a powerful antibiotic. What was infected? No one knew. They also informed her sister one day that there had been a “medical error”: they forgot to give her any of her medicines one day.
My sister was called repeatedly about what they were doing to her, but they refused to tell my mom. One day, for example, they came in and gave her a shot. When she asked what it was for, they refused to say. They had already called my sister and told her though. Numerous complaints about this procedure both by my sister and my mom were fruitless. They just did not want her to know anything. Meanwhile, neither my sister nor anyone else had medical or any other type of power of attorney over my mom. This is because it was not needed. My mom was sane and lucid the whole time. They couldn't comprehend this though- after all, my mom was 66 years old!
My mom complained one day to her sister that she was afraid of smelling like an incontinent person, since the nurse aides never wiped her. It turned out that none of the aides ever wiped her dry after urinating. When my aunt asked an aide about it, she acted genuinely shocked, and had no idea they were supposed to do that. So we had to complain a few more times to get this rectified.
Meanwhile, the aides almost always took 30 to 40 minutes to answer a call. Since my mom was unable to walk on her own, she needed help getting to the bathroom. By the time they arrived at her room 40 minutes later, she had sometimes lost it. The constant holding of it for long periods surely contributed- along with the unsanitary procedures- to her getting a bladder infection later. At first a nurse told us she did not have an infection- it was 'bladder spasms'. My mom wanted it checked by a doctor, as she had to go more and more frequently because of it. This is a normal effect of a bladder infection- frequent urination. But a night nurse took a sample and said it was an infection. The day nurse said the sample indicated no infection. No doctor was consulted by either, as far as we knew. After a week of complaining, and suffering from this, she finally got a pill for the infection. Is this what the Cipro was for? They were not sure. Even after all this, she still had to wait a half an hour or more to get help going to the bathroom nearly every time.
Another problem was the food and its service. They woke her up every morning at 6:30AM so she would be ready to go at 7:00. Then they wheeled her to the cafeteria, where she had to wait for an hour to an hour and a half for food to be served. The same was done for dinner and supper. We asked why the food could not be prepared first, then people could be taken to the cafeteria and served immediately. They blamed the cook, saying he was slow. Our question was not answered. One day they gave her cream of wheat for breakfast. She said she wanted milk to go on it. It took them a half an hour to bring out a little milk. Another day they never gave her any breakfast at all. She complained and was ignored. My aunt complained as well, and a nurse aide told her two different stories. She was lying. The next day, this same aide brought her two bowls of cereal for breakfast, obviously just to be spiteful.
It was like another time when my aunt complained that when they put her on a commode, the aides never shut the door so anyone going down the hall could see her. An aide lied to my aunt about that too, telling her different excuses.
One aide pulled her up with an assist strap by yanking her sharply. It caused her extreme pain (2 slipped discs remember). My mom complained about that aide being too rough. This was the same one that later lied about her not getting any breakfast. As far as we know, that aide was not fired or even disciplined. If she was, we were not informed.
The rehab was non-existant for a couple weeks, then finally began. It consisted of them wheeling her to a rehab room. Then the male and female nurses talked, played with hot wheels cars, played with a balloon, joked around, and then wheeled my mom back to her room. I guess they thought it was training her to walk again by making her watch them flirt with each other. Again, we had to complain. They gave her a new rehab nurse, who did do some work helping her to walk.
Unfortunately, even after this the old problems continued with her meals, medicines, and wait time to get help with anything. The office gave us excuses, but nothing improved.
We finally moved her to a different facility after an incident that nearly killed her. Her blood sugar level was high, so someone gave her an insulin shot. It was too much, and her glucose level went down to 30. 90-100 is normal, and 20 will send you into a coma (maybe the facility's doctor can be blamed here- her current doctor says she never needed insulin at all, and any insulin lowers her glucose too much; the staff's actions afterward are my main complaint). This caused extreme malaise and sweating.The aide on duty noticed she was sweating.Why was she sweating on a cold night? Was it a medicinal reaction? Should the charge-nurse be called? This aide, the breakfast one mentioned earlier, who claims 12 years experience in nursing, did not realize this was a diabetic coma coming on. She decided to open the window to fix this, telling no one, and shutting the door behind her...This window is a horizontally sliding one, the openable half of which is about 4X4 feet. It was opened all the way in the middle of the night, when it was 30 degrees out and very windy. My mom's temperature went down to 90 degrees- hypothermic. Luckily, someone else there found her hours later. They put her into a wheelchair, rolled her to the nurse's station in the hall, and the group of them then decided it must have something to do with diabetes. So, despite her barely conscious state, they tried for some time to force her to eat crackers. The allegedly professional nurses never thought of orange juice, glucose tablets, or even of calling the facility doctor. Finally, someone for some reason took her temperature. Then finally someone called an ambulance due to that. From that hospital she went to, we immediately made arrangements to have her sent elsewhere....The facility lied to get out of this, saying my mom 'asked' for the window to be opened and then 'did not ask' for it to be closed again. Poppycock- but it was enough for the state to dismiss this near-killing of a patient. Another shocking thing is that on the state's investigation report, it says that if the staff would have realized the window was open, they would not have sent her to the hospital at all. (If they have so much trouble ascertaining diabetic reactions to too much insulin, then how did they think they would fix this problem plus the hypothermia by themselves????scary!!!!)...
I later filed a complaint with the state of Iowa about all of this, and received responses via email, phone, and letter. My mom was eventually questioned and has heard nothing since. They sent me a letter two months later declaring that our complaints were unfounded. The basic reasons for this, with each one of the four they picked out to 'investigate', was that the staff at this place told them otherwise. What a fucking joke.
The IA Dept.of Inspections and Appeals is a joke. The whole concept of laws protecting the elderly is a joke. The so-called healthcare of nursing homes is a joke. And I let them know that in a venomous letter, which they as yet have not responded to.
Please check this link (link now invalid since facility has closed) about Regency Rehab. Note how many times they have been in trouble with the state, especially the section near the bottom of the page about Repeating Problems. As the site says,
“Proceed with caution when a nursing home on average repeats deficiencies 3 or more times.”. Of the 30 problems listed as repeat issues, 20 occurred 3 times or more. Two recurred 12 times.
They also state:
“What is the ability of this nursing home to correct problems?Highly unlikely to correct problem.”If you found that interesting/disturbing, then please do read the rest of the report and other links below. I can tell you from personal experience that this place has substandard care. They have uncaring and poorly trained aides, incompetent nurses, and lackadaisical management. You have to wonder about a place with 47% occupancy, when most care facilities have 80+%. If you are looking for a quality care facility to place a loved one in, I encourage you not to choose this place. Go by the reports I linked to, or my experiences. These are my observations and opinions- do your own research as well!
Regency Rehab and Skilled Nursing Center
(dead link above due to closing of facility)
fka/aka Woodlands Care Center (same place)
1600 McPherson Avenue
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
(link above works but this facility is off the list now- good source for other facilities though)
And this site- note ratings
(this link still works and has this place listed for now! please read; if it is taken down later email me if interested- i took screenshots of it)
ALSO, consider this: as much as they got away with that I have just entailed, you have to wonder what it takes to get 'founded' complaints logged against a facility in this state. Then consider the number of them already on record for this place. What else happened/s, and is not 'founded'? Disturbing thought...
There are numerous resources on the net for looking up info such as this, so please do investigate any facility before placing someone you know into it.
Final note: this article describes observations of myself and my family members, some of which could be considered 'opinions'. Since the state decided the liars that work there are more believable than my mom or numerous others, then the only proof I have is our testimonies. Consider it opinion and do your own research.
(c) james platt
(c) james platt