Garald from Indiana

My wife was diagnosed in 2012 with possible Alzheimer’s disease, which changed in 2013 to Dementia with delusions. She was put on both Namenda and Aricept to slow the progression, and was discharged to home care by myself. My caregiving included medication giving, bathing ,cooking for and assisting her in feeding and taking her later to half days of daycare as our doctor advised to give us both a break for half days.

Later she would wander out to the garage and sleep in our car during a very hot and humid summer, and at that time, our physician determined she needed to be admitted to a dementia care facility for proper supervision and safety. This was the hardiest day of our lives, but after almost 3 years of home caregiving it was in our best interests.I made her a promise that I would be there for her every day, and occasionally brought her home for holidays then returned her to the facility.

At first she was able to walk unassisted, feed herself, talk some, then as time went on she started falling as her leg strength and balance left her, luckily she never broke any bones. Staff care wasn’t always the best, it seemed like there was a big turn over of qualified aides or RN’s. Staffing during the day time was the strongest show of help. One night the facility had an electrical fire in the ceiling of the building, and the staff had to go through the building waking residents up - many had to be put in wheel chairs and taken outdoors. Luckily the day care center next door was open to take some in.

In August of 2019 my wife was approved for Medicaid and moved to a Medicaid approve facility, since where she was wasn’t Medicare approved. She remained there with much better care than she had been given in the last almost 3 years, but had trouble swallowing and finally her brain shut down and in the course of about 5 days her vitals went downward. One night they called to say they had called an ambulance to rush her to the hospital, so I rushed back and got to her bedside as the ambulance crew arrived to her room, honestly I thought she was gone - she was so lifeless at that point. She was admitted to ICU, a temporary feeding tube was inserted to give nourishment enough to try to get her vitals to come up on the monitor, 5 days later she was admitted to the Visiting Nurse Hospice Home where she passed peacefully on Dec,5,2019.

To this day I feel all the 3 years in the Dementia Assisted Living facility, her care was minimal, aides were under paid and training was inadequate and cut back on because it took away from the facilities profits, and if concerned staff complained they were removed or they transferred to a better paying facility.

In the case of the last Medicaid approved facility my wife was in, SOMEONE dropped the ball as far as noticing her vitals and health was changing for the worse. As a Medical Corpsman in the Navy if the care given in civilian nursing homes had happened in Navy hospitals, someone would have been court mar-tiled, no doubt in my mind. It is not acceptable in my views that our loved ones have to needlessly suffer and die, because 1.) the nursing home owners demand the money in profits, not the skilled care and 2.) the Pharmaceutical companies refuse to Provide the medications to stop the suffering, as their CEO’s have told Senate panel’s in Washington,D.C., that’s the way it is and your not going to do anything about it.

If I’m ever told I have to go to a nursing home after experiencing what my wife of 53 years went through, I will end it my way, so help me God.

And now covid19, has finally told the story about our nursing homes profits over adequate care, and I hope this Government wakes up and puts them out of business if they can’t measure up.