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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Nursing Homes - Not All Bad

Richmond nursing home is second worst in nation, agency says - Latest News - Kentucky.com

Wow, this is the stuff of nightmares. Very hard to read when you have a loved one in a nursing home. This article does contrast, however, with the home where my mother is staying - Bourbon Heights in Paris, Ky. - which received a "Best in State" award this year. It's not perfect, but I have never witnessed anything that could be considered neglect or abuse on my many visits there. To the contrary, I am often impressed with the patience and tenderness shown to the residents by various staff members, and their quick response when needed. The building is always as clean and well-kept as the residents, who are up and dressed and active every day as long as they are able. I think the fact that Bourbon Heights is owned by the county, not run by a for-profit corporation, makes all the difference. Paris is a small town, and there's very much a sense of family... the folks in that home are our teachers and store clerks and neighbors... our parents and grandparents... the visitors there are the folks you see around town every day.

It was a horribly gut-wrenching day when I first took Mom there to stay... having come to "the end of my rope" after several years of home care as her Alzheimer's progressed. That first day... a friend helped get her moved in, and I stayed til things were settled, long into the evening, and left after she finally fell asleep. Then locked myself in the car and just screamed for a while. Daughters are supposed to take care of their mothers, not leave them in such places, and I was so afraid of all the things described in this article, and more. I finally pulled myself together and went home, only to be called back around midnight -- Mom had gone into the bathroom and fallen backwards into the unused tub. She was OK, but we were all rattled, and I didn't get any sleep that night. Very soon the unused tub was covered with a padded platform. (Bathing is always done in a special room down the hall with a whirlpool tub and a chair lift.) Now, a couple of years later, it's still very hard every time I visit Mom and have to leave. But I know she's where she needs to be, and she is getting good care. Wish that all such places could do the same.