Nursing Home Abuse Killed My Grandmother
Grandparents are the jewels in the crown of a family, their wisdom about life is invaluable. Their lives are more precious than Gold and are not to be viewed as a burden on their children's lives.
The sacrifices they made to ensure their children's survival, children in return should ensure their parents the same sacrifices at the end of their lives. Once you throw them away to the human trash bins otherwise known as Nursing Homes....the trash collectors (Nurses and Nurses Assistants) will take them out. Our parents should die with dignity; not humiliation and broken hearts.
In 1999 my grandmother suffered a stroke that left her immobile. She required around the clock nursing services and with no one to care for her because everyone worked; she had to move into an Nursing Home Facility . When they transported my grandmother from the hospital to the nursing facility the family and I was there waiting to ensure she was comfortable and for about a month she was. After a month the Doctor said my grandmother had to be put on a feeding tube because she could not chew her food enough for proper digestion; but this was a bunch of bull because when I was feeding her in the evenings, she ate just fine. Her stroke caused her to eat more slowly and since the nursing assistants where on a schedule they began to complain that she was taking up too much time, blah, blah, blah. It had gotten to the point that on one day I went, she still had a tray of food sitting in front of her never touched! My grandmother was crying because she was hungry and no one wanted to feed her. Keep in mind this was food served 4-5 hours before I arrived, as a matter of fact they where on the hallway passing out supper trays. I was pissed and raised the roof on the place that day. How can anyone be so inhumane that they would do this to an helpless old lady; needless to say, this was the beginning of the end. I did not miss one day in visiting my grandmother at the nursing home and I became a familiar face to the Administrator and the Staff. My grandmother was a private and proud woman and did not particularly care for using the bathroom on herself and having others to clean her up. She would be so embarrassed that she would cry and that broke my heart. So, I made it my mission to visit her daily, clean her up properly, etc. We would talk and watch television together while I fed her. However, after her having that surgery (feeding tube) it took everything in her power not to just curl up and die. I encouraged her too keep her head up and reminded her that the feeding tube was only temporary because once she regained her strength through physical therapy she would return to eating on her own. Physical therapy proved to be very painful for my grandmother and it took a lot of motivation from her therapist (Charlie) and I to keep her going. However, Charlie, found the trick to get her in full throttle: He promised her that he would introduce her to the country singer from our area "Tim McGraw" .
My grandmother was excited and began to do better in therapy. One day everything changed...my grandmother became very depressed and was asking me to take her home. Charlie stopped by and told me that she cried during therapy and lacked motivation once again. It took me a week to get her back to talking and wanting to go back to therapy. Once she returned she did everything that was asked of her but she wasn't the same. During one session of therapy she asked Charlie, just to get her a tape of "Tim McGraw" to listen to and told me that once she take a few steps for me that was it. I didn't understand nor did my mother her daughter. A week later after coming from therapy and we returned to her room she told me to move her wheelchair away from her bed a few feet.She then told me to lock her wheels and when I did, she told me to step aside. She slowly raised herself from her chair and began to walk to me, I was delirious with joy. Once she made it to me, I grabbed her in case she fell and it was then she told me that she was no longer going to go to therapy and she was going home. This left me confused; but I felt she deserved an award for doing so well and I took her outside and let her soak up some sun and listen to the wind as it blew through the trees. After being outside for a few minutes my grandmother looked to the heavens as her eyes filled with tears and she said something that to this day has not left me: I want to be buried underneath a tree, I am ready to see Jesus face and be with God .
Her words where so definite, so final, that the breath in me was knocked out. The look that had come over her face was so peaceful, the glow that surrounded her was so bright it was as if she was sitting in the clouds. Now looking back, I know that was my grandmother's angel standing behind her. I now know that day, my grandmother embraced her destiny and was ready to leave this world. At the time I was in such denial because things had changed so suddenly. Something happened that took all my grandmother's hopes of returning to her life outside that Nursing Home and I wanted to know what.? I knew someone had did or said something so horrendous that it removed her will to live. After weeks of secretly investigating I struck gold; her next door neighbor was in the adjoining bathroom when I went to wet a towel and she pulled me to the side so my grandmother would not hear and told me that a nursing assistant on the night shift was verbally and physically abusing my grandmother as well as other patients that could not do for themselves. The thing that got me was unlike those other patients, my grandmother was in her right mind and was able to tell about her abuse. As if the patient could hear my thoughts she said your grandmother never says a word therefore most of the nursing staff that works with her believes she cannot speak and is not aware that she is in her right mind.
Madea could not only speak; but she was very aware of what was happening to her and would cry once they leave the room and was not able to hear her. See, no one told the staff that my grandmother's profession was as a Nursing Assistant before she retired. As a matter of fact she was a dam good one and knew the signs of Nursing Assistants that abused patients from her years in the field. Basically, my grandmother was being very smart; but she did not want me to go to jail so she waited to tell her youngest daughter. I had no problem with that; but with her revealing this horrible secret she made my aunt promise to have her removed from dialysis in order for her to die; she no longer wanted to live that way. I found all this out in one burst and I was furious as well as very devastated. Once the orders were given and the papers were signed it was too late. My grandmother cut off all communication with the family including me and my aunt. No matter how I begged and pleaded for her to tell me why...she would not make eye contact nor utter a word. This was Mother's Day 1999 and within 72 hours the Doctor said that my grandmother would be dead because without dialysis her organs will shut down.
This is where the story turns really ugly. My grandmother did not die in 72 hours; but she was consumed with pain because her organs were shutting down. She began to sweat out black fluids and her abdomen became so hard it felt like concrete. We where in hell. Now everybody was trying to get her back on dialysis but was told, it was too late because all it would do was make it harder on her and plus she had signed a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate). My grandmother earned the title of soldier from her family that day because regardless of the excruciating pain she was in, she refused to be put back on dialysis or reverse her DNR. For two weeks after her 72 hrs was up my grandmother would not utter a word. She moaned and silently hummed gospel tunes: She was getting her business in order with God. No one will never know the anguish I suffered witnessing my grandmother's journey from this world. My grandmother outlived the Doctor's time for her death therefore after a few weeks was up, everyone returned to their jobs. Once again it was just my grandmother and myself. With everyone gone and her asleep....I began to cry uncontrollably because I could not believe this was happening. My grandmother and I had a strained relationship over the years and now I had fallen in love with her and she was leaving me. I sat in a chair next to my grandmother's bed and leaned over to lay my head on her as she slept and I wept. I fell asleep, I awoke to someone rubbing my hair and it was her; Madea, had come back to me! When I looked up at her,she smiled and before I could open my mouth she apologized for putting me through this but went on to explain that she had to go. Her pain was so bad that she talked with a whisper and I had to get closer to hear. When I leaned in further she kissed me on my forehead and I melted; because I knew this was goodbye. She didn't die that night because she was still getting her business in order with God. It took a total of 20 days for my grandmother to pass and on the one time I did leave her side to go home overnight, she left me. In my heart I guess I knew that's what she was waiting on because before I left, I asked her not to steal away overnight and her eyes filled with tears. She never replied; so I kissed her for the last time while she lived and four hours later received the call from the nurse she had expired. Upon arriving back to the nursing home I walked in to hear everyone crying and see my grandmother's body in her bed. I kissed her for the final time and walked away as the funeral home attendants prepared to remove her body.
Although the Nursing Home did not persay put my grandmother in her grave they are however responsible for her death. They hired the woman that abused her and did nothing once the abuse was revealed. I do not want my grandmother's death to be in vain. I just want to share my story and hope this saves your loved one's life. We put our love ones into these people care and expect them to care for and protect them and all they do is strip them of their dignity and rob them of what's left of their precious lives.
PFP © 2009
Thanks Charlie wherever you may be.
The Old Folks Cry.....
In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be put to confusion. Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape:incline thine ear unto me, and save me. Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress. Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth. By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee. I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge. Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day. Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth. For mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together. Saying, God hath forsaken him: persecute and take him; for there is none to deliver him. O God, be not far from me: O my God, make haste for my help. Let them be confounded and consumed that are adversaries to my soul; let them be covered with reproach and dishonour that seek my hurt. But I will hope continually and will yet praise thee more and more. My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof. I will go in strength of the Lord God: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only. O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come. Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee! Thou, which has shewed me great things: O God, who is like unto thee! Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth. Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side. I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel. My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed. My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long: for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt. Psalm 71
Examples Of Abuses Taking Place In Nursing Homes:
Bedsores, more properly known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, are lesions caused by many factors such as: unrelieved pressure; friction; humidity; shearing forces; temperature; age; continence and medication; to any part of the body, especially portions over bony or cartilaginous areas such as sacrum, elbows, knees, ankles etc. Although easily prevented and completely treatable if found early, bedsores are often fatal – even under the auspices of medical care – and are one of the leading iatrogenic causes of death reported in developed countries, second only to adverse drug reactions. Prior to the 1950s, treatment was ineffective until Doreen Norton showed that the primary cure and treatment was to remove the pressure by turning the patient every two hours.
My grandfather and grandmother suffered from bedsores. Just imagine the pain involved, how could someone possibly want to live through this. It's just unimaginable to me. My grandmother could not stand to see a scrape on the knee so how would she deal with Stage IV decubitis ulcers. For more information on the levels of bedsores please visit link below:
The reason I protested that my grandparents not be put into a Nursing Home was because I once was a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant). I know the horrors of patient abuse and I can honestly say the level of abuse in Nursing Homes is ridiculous. As much as I loved my job....I had to let it go. It has been close to 20 years since I last worked as a Nursing Assistant.