- You can state that you are there to act as your resident's advocate. Keep it informal as you can telling them that you have written permission or rights to access medical records prepared to show them your permission.
- When you look at the nurses notes, look for problem notes from day 1 and if there are missing dates with nothing written. If nothing written ask for the shift log. Remember getting nasty will not get you what you are looking for.
- The Care Plan should not have omissions and inconsistencies.
- Flow Sheets will see what portion of each meal is eaten by your loved one or possibly tracking diabetes issues. Keep in mind that I have had caregivers in facilities report to me that they have been asked to fudge on these reports by reporting a shower given even when they did not shower the resident. Imagine one worker showering 17 residents. Common sense says that this is nearly impossible especially in a Memory Care Unit where full assist is needed.
You might be very disappointed knowing the records could be incomplete or just plain wrong showing you the need for an advocate.
- Now, you have the added task of feeling the hair of the resident. Is it oily? Does it smell bad? Keep a log for yourself on what you experience. Are their clothing soiled. Is it even their own clothing?
- Can you smell urine when you walk into a unit? If you can, what else is not being taken care of?
I took an inventory of what my mother brought into the facility and actually took pictures of each and every item. It is amazing to see what is mixed up. I even insisted on washing my mother's clothes hoping to keep this problem at bay. It did not work. Clothes would show up and clothes would go away.
- Does your loved one have a hearing aid or glasses and false teeth? Note this on her entry forms. Keep a copy for yourself with signatures. The facility is libel to replace lost items. It is hard to convince anyone that she lost what they don't have written down.
We should be irritated and even angry that we have to do all this when we are paying 4-10 thousand dollars a month to house our loved ones in a facility. Keep those notes. Call your local Ombudsman when you have any problems and attend any support meetings the facility has for residents and family. We cannot expect improvements if we do not participate as an advocate watching out for those we love and care for.
Now, is your loved one even wearing the hearing aid or the glasses? Is someone helping them see and hear? My mother was left in silence most of the time.
As disjointed this blog is today, I am hopeful that it will help someone that has someone in long-term-care or is thinking that it will be necessary sooner than later. Feel free to give comments and/or ask questions.