Families must monitor families


To the Editor:

I write this letter to you and your readers for the sole purpose of expressing our thoughts on the misfortunes my father endured in nursing homes in Rhode Island. Now that my father has passed, our thoughts are turned to the kindness as well of others. Our story played out over and over again on news stations and newspapers about his unthinkable and harmful care while a resident at Pawtuxet Village Nursing Home. For those that followed the story, my father was overdosed while in their care and ultimately ended up in the Phillip Hulitar Hospice Center in Providence in a coma for 19 days. By some miraculous spiritual healing, he came out of that coma, when daily we were told he would pass at any time. My father was not the only victim of these heinous people running this facility; there are many more stories just as terrible out there. Just as bad, maybe worse, is West Shore Health and South County Nursing and Rehab center (all places Dad has spent time at). They, as I would like to put, just haven't been outed yet as to how bad their lack of care is as well.

We were not supported by the Department of Health nor the Ombudsman’s office. These agencies were designed, so we thought, to support and back families in their time of crisis. It is important for families to know that Ombudsmen (for lack of a better phrase) are also in the pockets of big nursing home corporations and only present themselves as advocates for patients. AARP is also an agency only in print that is there for elderly; they too, are a moneymaking, for-profit agency. Families must advocate, must continue to monitor daily the goings-on of family members in nursing homes. This, and only this, is the way to gain a full "daily" picture of what transpires. Weekly or monthly visits will never provide the "care picture" families must have. Though at the time we were thought to be the troublemakers for continuing to ask questions, and yes to get "into the faces" of those paid to provide adequate care. As we now know with the forced closing of Pawtuxet Village, all the advocacy in which we had given my father was indeed on the mark, though to see how they presented us as the "troublemakers"; they were harming patients dating way back to the year 2004.

Moving past, now, the closure of Pawtuxet Village, my father, ultimately waking from his coma, regained some strength and was moved to Kent Regency in Warwick. I want to paint a picture of a place with the continuous care from the same people on a weekly basis (no agency help with no vested interest in their placement for an evening or weekend), compassionate hardworking people, who care. No place is perfect, and we had minor instances of problems there, very minor in comparison to the places he was previously. It was Kent Regency, as close to perfect as can be in comparison to the others. The administrator Stella is in touch with patients and family nearly on a daily basis, thus allowing her a clearer picture from patients as to their concerns; she literally reaches out to them [because] she wants it the best it can be. We believe that the placement at Kent Regency allowed my father to continue life for an additional year and a half that we probably would not have had.

I close with our heartfelt thanks to the Barrett Cotter Funeral Home. They provided genuine, compassionate help to our family in a time of crisis. My father looked 20 years younger, and if you hadn't seen him the previous weekend when he was about to pass (or throughout his illness), you never would have believed the man was sick a day in his life. Their work is exceptional, as is their professionalism. They extended themselves as well to other senior members in our family, making sure they were OK at the funeral with help with walkers, etc. They are to be commended for their outstanding job.

Most respectful,

Debra J. Norman



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Thank you John Howell for posting this. My opinions are based upon facts to which we as family witnessed first hand. AARP continuously fights important legislation that would both PROTECT & PROVIDE quality of life issues for the elderly. They fought vehemently in both OK and RI to stop the installation of monitors (that patients would pay for themselves) how can they call themselves advocates for the elderly? Join, and sure you'll get discounts on travel, movie tickets & much more, BUT when it comes to protecting and advocating for the elderly your on your own!

The Ombudsman office and their hired (hired being the key word, in the pockets of????) gun that they send to advocate for patients & LEGISLATION; only on paper advocate that is, had the nerve while my sister was testifying for the bill to be passed in RI for monitoring of elderly to be 'LAUGHING' at her during her hardship & emotional testimony. A family continuously victimized over and over again!

Then our legislators to which the bill was brought forth to, which put it out for future study. I asked that legislator *Health & Education committee" personally what does that mean, "he was quoted as saying well those that submitted the bill would have much work to do on it" basically that means the bill is dead on arrival. However this legislator had no problem with sending his voters in his district quite the sob story letter "again quoting how he had to carry his own mother from PV" for lack of care. This letter leading those voters to believe he was behind the bill, and basically single handed with the gravel down ended all possibility for it to go forward, I urge you to think about that when you vote next time. Yet he also fought us all by never going forth with the changes he "claimed" he would like to see for it to happen.

The Department of Health & Attorney General's office another mess, let's just keep paying them for doing nothing, seems to be the way it is in RI.

Rhode Island is the place folks if you want your loved ones warehoused with NO protection from agencies hired to do so.....WELCOME TO THE OCEAN STATE...

RIP Dad your in a better place that we all could only hope to arrive at someday. We love you and we would do it all over again without thinking twice, it is NOT us that has the problem but the system in which "go along to get along" seems to work best.

I fear there will be no change or only small change for which many will suffer and become casualties. Being a victim is more than anyone can comprehend, but then to expect victims and their families to fight a bureaucracy, as well, is more than an unreasonable request..... and yet that is what they need to do to create change. The bureaucracy itself makes it impossible for any victim and or family to endure the further victimization that they are put through..... this Sir is why it will continue, the strength while enduring a family member in a nursing home is focused there, they bank on that, most would have given up.

Thursday, July 4, 2013