Monday, May 28, 2012

Nursing Home Nightmare

"Kill me or let me die," were Alan's dying words, one month after the trauma of his forced eviction from a nursing home that didn't want him anymore. Those words still haunt my sister and I, knowing in our hearts the nursing home trauma killed him prematurely.
Alan (not his real name) was going to die anyway, terminally ill with Alzheimer's and Lewey Body dementias.
But dying in terror wasn't part of the plan. We never expected as prophetic, his WWII-generated fears as an orphan being "taken away by police."
We believe the living nightmare of his being"Baker-Acted" was the result of having to go on Medicaid.
Medicaid reimbursement to health care facilities is less than Medicare or private insurance. Nevertheless, we'd been assured a Medicaid-paid room would be available, as a current resident of the nursing home, once his Long Term Care insurance ran out.
We were wrong to believe them.
My sister and I shared a grim bond that Christmas day. Her husband Alan just died the day before. My husband died exactly ten years before, the day after.
We spent the day in stunned awareness of the painful irony.
This article isn't about us, however.
It's about advocacy.
My sister spent almost every day in the nursing home with Alan for two years. Caregivers relied upon her for help. I was there when she couldn't be. We did that and more. Still, this happened.
After the shock of Alan's death, anger set in.
The cruel acts perpetrated on him would not go unanswered. Many, fearing retribution if challenging caregivers, don't speak up and nothing changes.
Nursing Home Nightmare: Alan's Story Part II - Life in the Slow Lane

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