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Nursing home reveille played on bed pans at 4 a.m.; then it gets worse

Published: Sun, January 2, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

The Vindicator has done some very good investigative stories. Here’s a suggestion for another: nursing homes.

I had serious foot surgery and after a whole 24 hours in the hospital, I was sent to a nursing home rehab facility, and although the rooms look nice, it’s all show and no substance.

My first clue of the coming conditions was being put into a “holding pen” as there was no actual bed in rehab. It was the Alzheimer’s long-term care floor. The service was slim to none. Patients moaning and yelling, and buzzers going on 24/7. It was so noisy, they could have used it for a torture device at Guantanamo. Sleep was impossible.

The food was another clue. It was like something out of a Dickens novel. You never would have heard Oliver Twist say “please, sir, may I have some more.” It was not only poor quality, but had a terrible taste and was often unidentifiable.

One big problem is lack of staff. Many try to do the job, but they are overwhelmed. Like every workplace, you have lazy ones. I was to take pain medication every 6 hours and by the time they brought it 3 hours late, the pain built up and took longer to help. One day I had no water all day and my lips were parched and dried. I had to call a friend to bring me bottled water, crackers and edible food. It was like a hospital in a third world country where family and friends bring food, etc. for the patient.

After 31/2 days I was moved to the rehab area. Same food, and service was a little better but to survive, I had to take care of myself. One leg in a cast, hopping with the other leg on a walker (2010 medical care!). I dressed myself, like an acrobat, sponged bathed myself, etc. I asked for towels and they said “oh, you want rags”. They weren’t kidding! The towels were so small and thin, most people use them for rags.

Working hours start at 4 a.m. for everyone — staff and patients. They bang on an open door, turn on bright lights, talk at the top of their voices, crush pills (I think they use a sledge hammer). My roommate needed a pill and machine for her surgery; why did she have to get them at 4 a.m.? Why do I have to wake up to the lights and yelling and pounding at 4 a.m.? They plan their day to accommodate themselves, not the patients.

The floor was swept once a week — never saw it washed. The toilet didn’t work for a day and we were told to use it, but not flush it. With help, patients could go to the bathroom with a walker, but because no one answered the “call button,” they wet the bed. How humiliating and degrading.

The rehab was very good and so were the therapists, which is why I chose the place. Had I known about all the other things I would never have gone there. I was to stay 3-6 weeks; I left after 11 days.

I don’t have to put the name of the place. From what I’ve heard from other people, this could be any nursing/rehab facility. It’s costing hospitalization plans and government programs a fortune. But it is probably one of the biggest scams being perpetrated on the public. It’s a disgrace to have conditions as this in America.

Terry Gallagher, Youngstown


1author50(1121 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Eddie Reese's place maybe?

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2Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

This place is in Austintown on Kirk Road . And should be shut down . And should have been for years .

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3northsideperson(365 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Both of my parents did rehab at Hillside in Warren, and it was NOTHING like this (for which we are all happy).

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4author50(1121 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

@marcus 57

Eddie Reese knows how to grease (that is why it wasnt named). Surprised the letter got printed at all!

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5shining34(1 comment)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

As a person who has worked in many skilled nursing facilities I must say that the facility named above is one of the cleanest, staff friendly places I have been. The owners are constantly upgrading furniture, beds, and facility decor to make the bulding more inviting and homey. I know first hand that most of the staff will go over and above to make the patients feel respected and appreciated. How many buildings do you go to where the administrator of the building knows all patients by name? I am sorry for this writers poor experience but the opinion is clearly one sided and an untrue picture of what the facility is really like.

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6aeparish(669 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

I work for one of the facilities managed by the Reese's. Not Briarfield Manor, but I've been in this and other Briarfield facilities and I find these accusations outrageous (IF this story is even about a Briarfield facility, which has only been indicated by someone who CLAIMS they've spoken with the author of this letter...).

But, because Briarfield was brought up... I'll put my two cents in regardless. Briarfield facilities have done superb on the state surveys. I can't tell you how many family members come up to us on a daily basis and compliment us on the appearance of our particular building, the friendliness of our staff, and most importantly, the above and beyond care that we provide to our residents. I also can't tell you how many obituaries I've read on Vindy whose families have thanked the facilities (and not just for the particular one where I work) for all of the care they have provided for their loved ones. I'm pretty sure these people wouldn't bother to praise the facilities so much if the environments were even remotely as poor as those in the above story. Then again, we still can't be 100% sure that this story's even about the Manor. Someone else mentioned that it was about a facility on Kirk Road, which is not one that falls under the Briarfield name. ... So which one is it?

Shining... you are completely and totally right about everything in your comment. "I had to have a friend bring me bottled water" ... please. I find this hard to believe with ANY facility, much less one of the Briarfield's.

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7LME99(1 comment)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

I work in healthcare. If you are alert, oriented, and allowed to drink water, bring your own water. Trust me.

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