Painkiller theft a national problem…
The local news in my town makes my blood boil most every day. My therapist tells me not to consume it.
But I don’t listen. The latest news story sent my blood pressure through the roof. It was reported by the Quad-City Times last week: “Nurse charged with stealing painkillers.”
Not only that, but she allegedly tampered with records at the nursing home to cover her tracks.
Talk about a trigger. Caring and advocating for my dad with dementia nearly killed me. And a year after his burial, I still suffer from the trauma of it all. .I have a PTSD diagnosis. This is related to all of the bizarre things I went through as a caregiver.
Once my father became incapacitated my life changed. I was banned from his memory care facility for reporting an intruder.
I was thrown in jail and held there for two days, stripped naked with only a straightjacket to cover myself. And no charges at were filed. .
So triggers are not a good thing for me, or for anyone with PTSD. And that story was a bad trigger.
As you get to know the people who work in these facilities, you learn that tampering of records occurs all the time… as it relates to resident falls, for example. There are plenty of CNAs all over America who have no problem attesting to this. As the working conditions at most of these places are so terrible there is a lot of turnover. Loose lips sink ships, in theory. But in places with lax or incompetent nursing home oversight nothing ever happens.
This story came as no surprise. As it was another example of the substandard care our elderly get in the facilities. While they rob them of their life savings. My dad spent well over $100,000 in his memory care facility. They did not even send a plant when he died.
I have had a very difficult time the past week – nightmares, inability to sleep, anger, rage. The ramifications of being my dad’s advocate have resulted … in mental and physical distress, lost wages, and many other damages.
I’ve been encouraged to pursue litigation against the facility. As well as the county, (which operates the jail). I’m more inclined to write a “tell all.” It would help more people. It will be far less stressful, and potentially far more lucrative for me.
I need to recoup the financial blow the entire ordeal caused. Especially at a time when I had only been back to work for two years … after being unable to work and/or being underemployed while caring for my dad.
Without getting into the details of my case, I already live in fear of my life every day. I recently spent hundreds of dollars on a home security system. Not to mention the monthly fee and permitting fees associated with it. More stress is absolutely the last thing I need.
While dad convulsed to death, Ativan was delayed
Back to the story last week. The more I thought about that story, the angrier I became. After dad was removed from the memory care facility, I sought state intervention. I wanted to be reunited with him. He was placed in a nursing home. Three weeks after they moved him, he was near death. His brain deteriorated rapidly. This was from frontotemporal degeneration.
Dad had gone mute about two weeks prior. Three days before his death, he went into convulsions. His face was bright red, he gritted his teeth in pain, and he floundered like a fish out of water. But no sound came out. They were “silent screams”. Watching your parent go through that, that alone, could result in a PTSD diagnosis.
When the convulsions began, dad’s death was imminent. He had not eaten for a week. Had developed pneumonia as well. He also had three unexplained broken toes. We chose a different hospice company after that was found. Dad had been on hospice before, but the former company’s poor reputation had come to light in so many ways.
Dad had an alarm mat next to his bed. When I would go visit, it was never plugged in. The facility would say the alarm mat belonged to hospice. So I guess that meant they were not responsible for plugging it in? I don’t even know who to blame or point the finger at anymore. Rock Island County is known for its substandard long-term care facilities… in caregiving and legal circles. I point the finger directly at the incompetence of the local elder ombudsman organization. It has a reputation for not returning telephone calls, among other things.
I have no issues with the second hospice company we chose. Their compassion was stellar. They immediately ordered morphine and liquid Ativan. Both of which were given in drops under his tongue.
It took several hours for the Ativan to arrive. I was told by a nurse at the nursing home the bottle had fallen over in transit and broke. So a new bottle would need to come on the next delivery.
I was told a different version of the story, by a different nurse at the nursing home. It’s possible that the bottle did fall over and break, but…give me a break. A benzodiazepine? I remember having an “A-ha!” moment.
I started wondering home many addicts and criminals have field days at nursing homes and long-term care facilities… with the painkiller and anxiety medications. Intended for the elderly they serve. I want to be clear; I’m not saying that the nursing home stole my dad’s Ativan. I felt this nursing home treated my dad well despite all the problems that occurred there. His teeth disappeared the day after the memory care facility got rid of me. This was the second set they had lost and refused to replace. What a joke) so he was malnourished upon arrival at the new nursing home.
But I am saying the Ativan was delayed. And I did think at the time….hmmm….really? Incompetence regardless of what caused delay. For God’s sake the man was convulsing. Absolutely ridiculous.
Med thefts in elder care facilities a national problem
Research has exposed the theft of medications , from long-term care facilities, is a national problem. In fact, the Internet is teeming with law firm blogs like this one that have all kinds of things to say about this issue.
It is not only are the nursing homes getting rich off our elderly. Lawyers are making bank off already financially devastated family members. Many who want justice, at any cost.
But I think I’d be better off using my pen and my reporting skills, as I have been, than hiring a lawyer.
There is a chorus of people who have tried to say that I have exaggerated. Yet nobody ever has claimed that what I’ve reported isn’t true. It is being muted more and more each day, as the facts have begun to trickle out over the past year. There are a few frightened (but powerful) people doing their darndest to ramp up the discrediting and mental abuse. Some have even struck at my livelihood, emailing lies about me to my clients.
I turned my life around more than two years ago. Getting sober… out of the love for my father. The realization I could not be an effective advocate for him played a part. That is 100 percent how the miracle of my sobriety occurred.
I have worked tirelessly as a reporter to advocate for the elderly. I work hard to squash the stigma related to … addiction, mental illness, alcoholism, and people living with HIV and Hepatitis C.
I am a wonderful person and God knows it. He does not want me to lose my temper. Nor to worry about how I will pay the bills. Most of all, to let barefaced evil people in my community cause me any bit of bother.
I’m going to keep on writing and keep on keepin’ on.