Hospice care

  1. I have worked in Hospice for 29 years. It has changed over time, some for the better, some no so much. Mostly I worked in small community based organizations, but recently moved and was offered a position with a corporate owned Hospice that also owns most of the facilities where our patients are located. Good pay, NO weekends or on call. How could I not accept.

    The facilities were not the best, but the staff seemed friendly. From the first week on the job the aides started complaining about the patients being abused. I started looking into it and discovered the abuse was rampart. Patients in urine soaked beds for long periods of time, no supplies or linens for the hospice aides to do personal care, pressure ulcers left untreated, it was a nightmare. I went to the DON of the facility who was friendly and pretended to be concerned, but I could see it was fake. I went to my boss who basically told me our companies were married, there wasn't much they could do, and to my surprise the aides who had come to me with their concerns were fired.

    I spoke to one of the social workers who told me there were lawsuits against the Hospice for wrongful termination, and the staff never lasted long because whenever they spoke or filed a complaint they were fired. I was totally shaken to the core by what I witnessed. I wonder what price I will pay for going to the department of public health. I'm told dozens of complaints have been filed by the staff before me and everything has come back unfounded. Please say a prayer for me.
  2. Visit civilized profile page

    About civilized

    Joined: Jun '11; Posts: 26; Likes: 15
    RN; from US
    Specialty: Hospice


  3. by   civilized
    As expected, after 30 years as a Hospice RN and I get fired for reporting abuse. Very very sad.
  4. by   dance4life
    Oh my goodness. =( This is terrible. Most places take this seriously. You are a mandated reporter, what else are you suppose to do? You have to report it.

    I can relate, but I have not been wrongfully terminated.

    I will think of you.
  5. by   civilized
    Thank You dance4life, it's been surreal... One of the patients had an allergy to latex. Hopefully everyone on here understands that one of the things you would not do is use latex briefs on this patient. However the hospice aides actually have documented complaints to several nurses and the supervisors via emails, and some of the responses have been "it is not in your care plan to make assessments" & "know at the end of the day you can hold your head up high knowing you did everything you could to help this patient". Then these aides were terminated!!! And they actually filed a written complaint to the department of health, who investigated 7 months ago and found the facility needed to make adjustments!!! When? and no follow up!!! This poor frail lady was raw. And I also found 2 patients with stage 3 wounds, untreated and stuck to their urine stained sheets. And they terminated me for "threatening to report a customer to DPH" Believe me it wasn't just a threat, and I called the attorney general as well. This has been a nightmare. It just makes me sick to my stomach that anyone could treat another human being like this, let alone nurses
  6. by   nurseandi11
    WOW! this is seriously heart breaking. I am so sorry.... Just don't give up!
  7. by   dance4life
    I sent you a message. It is against the law to do this.
  8. by   civilized
    dance4life, couldn't respond to your message, but the corporation in a national chain based out of NJ. I always believed abuse and neglect of patients was against the law, but when your suddenly thrown into the middle of it, you discover HHS, DPH, even HPCN don't care. I spoke to Hospice Patients Alliance which are the ONLY advocates for patience and they get 2-3 calls a week from nurses with similiar stories as mine. I spoke to several nurses already. It takes years and in the end when they actually get found guilty, they pay a couple hundred dollars in fines and have to change their way of doing things. I hired a lawyer and filed a lawsuit under the whistleblower protection law. But they made 1.4 billion in profits and have "super lawyers". And what about the 6 aides that were fired for reporting abuse, do you think they will ever report abuse again? I don't. Thanks much for your support. It is just so very very sad
  9. by   civilized
    Thanks nurseandi11 for your support. I was shaken to the core by what I witnessed. It's helpful to get encouragement.
  10. by   dance4life
    I won against a big company as well. Probably bigger. I heard the same things you did, lmao and I still won. Not a dollar either. Don't assume they will have a better lawyer. You need to think positive and stop worrying what other nurses's say unless they have been there. Most of the time these cases are hush hush. People don't talk about it after they win. This does not go on the news. It is embarrassment for the company so they pay you off to shut you up and hopefully fix whatever problems they have.

    Sorry for your situation. Good luck with your case.
    Last edit by dance4life on Jun 10, '11
  11. by   dance4life
    It is pretty sad if DPH isn't doing their job either. Just know you advocated for your patients and now it is time to advocate for yourself.
  12. by   civilized
    dance4life, I was very shocked about DPH myself. I always assumed they really investigated complaints. Now I find out they only investigated "serious" complaints. Giving a copd patient who was eating PO and walking, morphine to help with her was not considered serious. She lasted 2 days!
    And I find out for the entire state of massachusetts there is only 1 investigator for assisted living facilities, which should not be allowed to have hospice patients do begin with. The biggest shock of all is, this corporation that owns the hospice & nursing homes & assisted living facility, also owns the pharmacy that provides all the medications. Conflict of interest???
    Two days after I was fired and my lawsuit arrived, the administration all quit. So it got me wondering..... and I looked up some of the nurses I worked with on the nurses registry.. 2, not even liscensed in the state! It's crazy !!! If I didn't expirience this myself I would never have believed anyone!
  13. by   nursemarion
    OMG I totally know what you mean. I worked for a for-profit home health agency after 20+ years in a hospital based environment. Once the profit motive become the focus the care goes out the window, and employees become disposable. Never again! I only want to work in non-profit environments from now on no matter how attractive the job looks. TAKE PROFIT OUT OF HEALTH CARE. I am sorry, but it does not belong! All companies want to do well, but the whole stockholder thing makes it UGLY. It just does. Those who don't know can argue till the cows come home. I don't care. I lived it and I was so disturbed by what goes on that I never want to work for a for-profit again. Hospitals can pull some ugly stuff to survive, but it is nothing compared to what I saw when there are stockholders involved.

    Call Medicare and Medicaid anonymously- they will investigate. Call the state auditor office anonymously. You MUST. No one should abuse the dying. These owners are the lowest of the low.
  14. by   joleej
    How could you not know, after 29 years in Hospice, that the big corporations are all about the $$$$$? Also, being a non-profit doesn't always make it a bed of roses either. Find a small, locally owned hospice.