Dear Nursing Home,
Thank you for taking such great care of my grandmother for 2 years.
I mean it. For two years, you were wonderful, attentive, caring people who truly valued my grandma as a person and you looked out for her. You made her laugh with your funny stories and you made her proud to shout out “Bingo!” on Saturday afternoons. You offered her excitement in the form of shopping trips to Wal-Mart and weekly arts & craft activities. And the ice cream? That was her favorite.
Sadly, I can’t say you have done the same over the past six months.
During those six months, you have changed. I don’t know what happened, but your care is different. It is not the same loving and personable attention you used to provide, and it is causing our family a lot of heartache. You no longer look out for her the way you used to and she is suffering because of it. I don’t like to see the people I love suffer, especially my grandmother. She has been nothing but sweet, gentle and kind to you. She would never hurt anyone, and yet here she is being hurt by you.
So I beg of you, please, please go back to the way you used to treat my grandmother.
Please check on her regularly and make sure she hasn’t accidentally used the bathroom on herself. And if she has, please change her immediately.
Please make sure she is eating and please make sure she is getting enough water to drink. And if she gets sick, please make sure she is seen by a doctor and treated immediately.
Please take her to physical therapy regularly and don’t just leave her sitting in her recliner all day to watch T.V. And if she just isn’t feeling like herself and can’t make it to physical therapy that day, please make sure she is comfortably seated in her chair and not slumped over about to fall out.
Please take her outside every once in a while so she can get a bit of fresh air. I know you may not have time to do that every day, but once or twice a week is better than nothing.
Please include her in Bingo on the weekends and arts & crafts during the week. Please include her in the hallway parades and holiday related events.
Whatever you do, please DON’T ignore her.
And please, for the love of God, when she has a doctor’s appointment scheduled at the local hospital and you promise to bring her, please DO NOT BRING THE WRONG PATIENT! If my mother had not been there to meet your transportation team that day, you would have negligently allowed an innocent patient to receive unnecessary blood work, MRI scans and more. Had my mother not been there to justifiably curse you out and DEMAND that you go back and get the CORRECT patient, you would have not only harmed the innocent (WRONG) patient that you brought that day, but you would have harmed my grandmother too because she never would have received the treatment and tests that she needed. And what would have happened if there had been a car accident and you were transporting a patient you weren’t authorized to transport? What then?
This was gross negligence on your part and you should be ashamed of yourselves. Your driver’s excuse of “well, she claimed to be (insert my grandma’s name here) so I assumed it was her” doesn’t count for squat. Do you know that half those patients have dementia and Alzheimer’s and don’t know who they are? You can’t just walk into the Common Room, call out my grandmother’s name and expect the right patient to answer. Why didn’t your driver check with the nurse staff before he left? Why wasn’t there a medical chart or bracelet or some form of identification on or near my grandmother?
Shame on you for not conducting the proper checks and balances, and shame on you for not having proper transportation protocol in place to begin with.
If it weren’t for my mother and my sister who selflessly check on her daily, I don’t even want to imagine the care she would be receiving. My mother is a very forgiving person and she believes in second (and even 20th) chances, so that, combined with other financial reasons, is why my grandmother is still in your facility. Otherwise we would have pulled her out that day.
I know your job is hard, but this is a job you chose to do, so we expect you to do it, damn it. And we expect you to do it well.
No more excuses.
Start treating my grandma and all your other patients like human beings. We have two years of proof that you are capable of quality care, so please, show us we can trust you again.
One Very Angry Granddaughter