Oramar the longer you work in LTC you will find more of what you posted about. I worked LTC for the last 5 years of my career and some of the things I witnessed is enough to make your hair stand on end. I enjoyed working with the elderly, but found after enough crap happened that even more than hospitals in nursing homes the bottom line is money, money, money. I lost a job at a facility after I tried to force the administrator to report falisifation of charting by the DON and MDS coordinator, as well as three incidents of abuse. I was told by corporate people I was not to report them as it was the administrators job. I pushed him and pushed him. Kept thinking I could get him to do it, and save my job at the same time. Finally one day I told him if he did not report it I would. Gave him a time line. 3 days later I was suspended pending investigation, for guess what? Patient abuse. I had stepped between two combative patients to keep them from harming one another and out of that I was charged with patient abuse. The nurse who did the investigation on this for the facility was the ADON, she had only a few months prior to this been charged with felonies related to a time she had been a DON in another facility. Those charges were for medicare fraud, falsification of patient records and destruction on patient records. Just a month prior to my suspension, her license had been suspended by the state because of the felony charges. Her license was reinstated after the charges were dropped to a misdemenor because she testified against higher corporate people. Yet in the facility were I worked at knew this and she was allowed to keep her job, and stay in a management position. The paperwork sent to the investigator from the facility was wrong. It had the wrong dates of suspension, the wrong date of termination. Notes added to the patient records. I was actually fired on a Saturday over the phone. When all this happened to me I did not know where to turn. I went to a labor attorney. I went through the entire investigation process and thank God that the investigator was able to tell that everything the facility sent had been "buffed". She was also able to note that late entries had been made into the patient charts, and in her words, had been made to appear that wrongdoing had been committed where none had occured. Nearly a year went by before I was cleared. It was a horrible time in my life. I was afraid, I became extremely depressed, I didn't work for a year and three months. In the meantime trying to get anyone to listen to me about what should have been reported was extremely difficult. I was viewed as a disgruntled ex-employee with an axe to grind. It took much effort on my attorneys part to bring the issue to the forefront. I sued the facility for wrongful termination, and won. Yet after attorney fees I got about 3 months worth of wages and thats it. To me it was like blood money and I didn't even keep it. I used it to buy my sister a car. In the end the facility effectively silenced me and nobody was held accountable for the falisification or the patient abuse. Oh,sure it came out, but nobody was held accountable. The two nurses that falified charts continue to work, the DON is a DON in another facility, which had no citations. I know why too. The MDS coordinator went to another job as well. Nothing happened to the administrator of the facility and as far as I know he continues in his job. I reported everything to 4 different corporate people, they still are in their same jobs. I'm not telling you this to scare you away from nursing homes, just to let you know that these kinds of things happen and to make sure you don't let it happen to you. I wish to God I had just quit there and went to the state. I live in a small rural community and the place I worked at is close to me. There were many residents there that I had known as a child, people who had been friends with my grandparents, I stuck it out because of them. Somehow I thought I would protect them I guess. This is why I became involved with the million nurse march. Nursing homes must be held accountable for what is going on inside them. Staffing is not adequete, mandatory overtime in many is the norm. The lack of appropriate supplies can be a nightmare.
I feel for the nurse that lost her license. To me the likely scenerio is that the patient needed to have something done, the physician was not seeing it and not doing anything, trying to get a physician in when it is not normal rounds in a nursing home can be like pulling teeth, so the nurse took it upon herself to do something. Yes, it is against the practice act, but where was the physician in all of this? How about the DON? In my experience it has been the norm for a weekly skin report with measurements and treatments being done to go to the DON for followup. I find it hard to believe that no one but the nurse involved knew what was going on. She happens to be the great scapegoat though. I hope she does get ahold of nurseprotect. I hope she chooses to become involved with the million nurse march. Nurses are made the scapegoats in all sorts of circumstances. How do we do something about it? To become active in our own defense thats how. I just posted this same story on nursing spectrum, I have never posted about this before. I was ashamed of what happened. I knew in my heart that I did nothing wrong, I had tried to what was right. But it still made me feel ashamed. Nearly two years later I have finally made peace with it. But what I have decided too, is that I cannot stand idlely by while this type of thing continues. The industry as a whole must be held accountable for what they are doing to nurses and to patients, all in the name of money. A facility will ruin your reputation and livelihood before it ever allows that to happen to them. I did finally get a job at another LTC facility, I wanted to stay working with the elderly, I have a special spot in my heart for them. But then I was forced to chose whether to go to my dying father or to keep my job. I chose my dad. I am now going with agency so I can control my destiny better, and I will continue working with the mnm, as well as continued activism in some form. This should never happen to another nurse.