Thursday, October 4, 2012

Skilled Nursing Care In The United States Is Hard To Find

OK~ As many of you know, my life has been fairly crazy lately. I love busy and I love crazy. I honestly think it beats the alternative of sitting around and having nothing to do. For the past 5 1/2 weeks my family and I have been consumed with necrotizing pancreatitis. My Dad was diagnosed with this life threatening infection on August 27, 2012. This Mom has had her eyes opened to the good and the bad within our medical system here in the United States. I am forever grateful for the people that have taken care of my Dad and continue to pray that Dad will get stronger each day.

Meet My Dad The Miracle Man
We are fortunate to reside 1 1/2 hours from Rochester, Minnesota, which is home to the Mayo Clinic.
I am very, very thankful for the advances in medical care, as my Dad is alive today because of some of those "rare" machines that are only available at St. Marys hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. The Doctors and Nurses that have cared for him throughout this whole process have been awesome people. They have worked hard to keep him alive and supported our family along this journey.

Now that Dad has been dismissed from the hospital and sent to a skilled nursing home facility my head is beginning to spin. My Dad does need extensive medical care so our choices of where to move him to were few and far between. We had the choice of Decorah, Iowa (2 hours from home) or a local facility. Well, this is a no brainer. Of course we chose the local facility. I have no problems with the people that work there or the facility itself. What bothers me is the fact that this facility is supposed to be a skilled care facility and we are on Day #4 here and the nurses are still learning how to care for him. There seems to be a line of communication that simply does not exist in the system we have in place today. I do have faith that the nurses will figure out a system that will work. But really? Should it take four days for a skilled nursing facility to learn how to manage a patient?

I understand that all patients have different needs and all bodies heal differently. But, to the best of my knowledge there are certain things that are taught in nursing school that these nurses should know how to do. These nurses are having to learn (in fours days) how to change/clean a drain tube and change his dressing. I just assumed that when he arrived at a skilled nursing facility the nursing staff would know how to care for him. Ummmm- learning process for all! But hey, it's coming- By Day #10, a system will be in place.

I am learning that not all medical facilities do things a certain way. I am also learning that skilled nursing home facilities do not have the staff to meet the needs of the residents. I ask this question, "What happens to those people that live in more rural areas of the United States than we do? Where do these people go to get care in skilled nursing facilities?" I would love to hear what you have to say on this issue.

I am assuming, and I might add that I never like to assume anything, that he has been placed in this facility due to Medicare mandates. My Dad has worked hard all of his life, paid into the system, and carried health insurance. My thoughts are- Dad should be able to receive the medical care he needs when he needs it. All of the other facilities in our area, and there are several, do not care for patients with needs that he has. Drain tubes and open wounds are something that skilled nursing facilities do not like to offer care for. And again, I am assuming it is due to the lack of Medicare funds that are paid to skilled nursing facilities.

Where do people with these medical needs go? I am learning that facilities to take care of people are not readily available in the United States of America. Have we as a country focused so much on ourselves that we have forgotten that we need to provide care for people when they are sick? Oh yeah, and that day Mom took Dad to the Emergency Room- Would someone tell me why someone would go to the Emergency Room, check in, get a can of soda and walk around the area chatting with visibly sick people?

All I can say is that we have a lot of work to do in our country when it comes to meeting the basic needs of our citizens. People that have worked hard, paid into the system, and donated to charity after charity throughout the years should be offered (as every citizen should) top notch medical care. This is the United States of America......My head is still spinning. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

*The opinions expressed here are mine and nobody else's. I did not receive compensation in any way, shape, or form for this post.


  1. I don't know what to say... I have been in the same situation with my Mom. I watched a hard working woman who raised 4 children after my Dad passed away (most often working 2 jobs) lose absolutely everything before she died. She lost her home, her car and all she was left with was her clothes and her dentures (which the nursing home lost and never replaced)
    This stuff absolutely breaks my heart- and heaven forbid if the person doesn't have an advocate or a diligent family member- those are the ones that bother me the most.

  2. Yes, I agree. What happens to all of these people that do not have family around? What an eye opener.

  3. Glad to see he is up and walking and out of that hospital - Sara, my prayers are still with ya!!

  4. My heart continues to be with you Sara. BIG HUGS!!


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