Is this typical for an LTC facility?


:angryfireI love this site. You can come here, blow off steam, and no one thinks you're horrible (or most don't, anyway).

I went through this about 9 months ago. My dear departed grandmother was in a house fire, and came to this particular rehab for therapy after she got out of the burn unit. I had worked at this place years before, it was absolutely horrible, and I quit. The day I gave notice, one of the charge nurses told me that I had to give 3 weeks notice. Well, 1) It was none of her business, since I had it worked out with the supervisor, and 2) Alabama is one state that you do NOT HAVE TO give notice in. I informed her of that and she said, "I'd be really careful going home if i were you....traffice can get real nasty about 7 o'clock". That was what time I got off. I told her to consider my notice effective immediately and that I would not be back the next day.

Now it was owned by a new company, and they asked me to work PRN while Grandmother was there. I agreed, and on my first day of orientation, I was lambasted by the supervisor for "only intending to work as long as my grandmother was there"! That was what I agreed to in the first place. I should have walked then and there.

This place had minimal staff, nurses who looke like something the cat dragged in, one male nurse who never, and I do mean never combed his hair, just pulled it back in a ponytail. He had a nasty habit of trying to figure out what color undies I was wearing every time I worked. (A visit by my hubby stopped that).

My question is, with more staff than not on drugs, nurses that are not allowed to give narcotics, 70-odd patients to 1 nurse, multiple visits by state, rats the size of housecats, and more roaches than I care to enumerate, why are they still in operation? Is this typical? When we brought the pest problem to the higher-ups attention, they refused to call an exterminator, and told us to "stomp" the little critters. Ugh.

I left the second time after several incidents over a month. One, A resident fell, and had to go to the hospital. As the EMS squad picked her up, they dropped her on one of my hands and broke it. It staere swelling immediately. The sup refused to let me go to the ER, told a tech I was to find my own replacement, and that if I left, the TECH was to drug screen me! She also said that I would need to come in and "talk"to her about it. This was a morning that I came in at 3, unscheduled, after the same sup called me in tears, having no one to work. Two, After my grandmother died, I was not called to work for about a month. I called as usual to see about days, and was told that "you can't work until you do the skills fair" which was a bunch of videos to watch. I agreed and asked when it was. "Last week. You should have been here. The sign was up for 2 weeks." Like I was going to see it while I was not there. They refused to set up the TV for me, even though I offered to come in several times. I was eventually told, "I don't have time to deal with you right now, state's coming." Yeah, for the 5th time in as many weeks. The last straw was when, get this, the PAYROLL lady called and said, "We need to know why you have not been here. Are you coming back? You need to set up some days." At that point I told her to tell the sup where to go. I've never been so mad in my life.

Does this sound right. It's the only LTC I ever worked, and I was just wondering. Sorry so long. Thanks.


1,355 Posts

Did I read you right? You said that the sup wouldnt LET you go to the ER? I think you better RUN out of that place as fast as your legs can carry you.Sounds like a snake pit.

AngelfireRN, MSN, RN, APRN

2 Articles; 1,291 Posts

Specializes in med-surg, psych, ER, school nurse-CRNP. Has 15 years experience.

That's right. Unless I found my own replacement, at 4 in the morning, and unless I let the TECH drug test me, I could not leave, she said. And this was after I came in at 3 in the morning when she called, in tears, because no one else would come in.

I'm long gone. Not enough money in the world to make me stay there.


95 Posts

Specializes in pediatric and geriatric. Has 19 years experience.

They are not all like that, but I agree you should stay out of that place. The poor residents who can't just quit must be suffering. Sounds like they need to be shut down. I don't know why it is that decent places usually get drilled at state survey time and crappy ones like that get to stay open? Just not fair.

Has 16 years experience.

humme..... sounds like drama to me.....

Typical? maybe in staffing problems...and maybe yes in regards to how some staff members interact with eachother from supervisors down, depending on your supervisor. This one particular supervisor.....who's been a nurse for more than 30 years...she's the wise one, no rules applies, straight out as it is....

But you have to know what you think is right verses wrong. If you feel like these people are on you.......speak up, you have your DON or administrator to talk too.

Check the policy and procedures for your position and if one is not is place, you should question it. Don't let anyone treat you like crap. I treat everyone with respect, I expect the same.

If the company had some kind of staff development training that you missed.....then you really should talk to whoever is in charge for the lack of communication. They need to remember that certain staff members are not always there to get the memo. I'm pretty sure it's not difficult for a nursing secretary to give per diem staff a phone call regarding mandatory events.

The worse thing to do is to contribute to an escalation of problems so if you know that they aren't functioning right, don't argue, find solutions to the problem. And if the problem is the way this company functions, give the corporate an email...if no resolution, then that was your last options, quit...

Another great advantage for working for a different company is that you'll start to feel what works in an LTC and what doesn't.

I started out working for a company just as you sounded...I've met my last options, I knew when I quit I left all their problems to themselves.... and I'm proud to call my current workplace my other home, it's been over 2 years and I'm still smiling:)

woody62, RN

928 Posts

Specializes in icu, er, transplant, case management, ps. Has 27 years experience.
That's right. Unless I found my own replacement, at 4 in the morning, and unless I let the TECH drug test me, I could not leave, she said. And this was after I came in at 3 in the morning when she called, in tears, because no one else would come in.

I'm long gone. Not enough money in the world to make me stay there.

I also live in the South. Refusing to allow you to go to the ER and ordering you to submit to a drug test or you have to stay, this nurse and this facility are breaking several laws of your state. No employer can refuse to allow you to file a WC claim. No employer can refuse to allow you to leave. And no employer can order you to submit to a drug test. I suggest that you seek out an attorney. And also notify your state agency that monitors long term care facilities for their compliance with state regulations. Your employer has far overstepped the boundaries. And they need to be reported.


Specializes in geriatrics,med/surg,vents. Has 25 years experience.

I work in LTC and want to say this is not typical,I have worked in many different places in my career and only one was like the one you're describing.I was out of there as fast as possible.They are closed down now,thank God,the state had been after them for years and I don't know what took so long.If you want another job in LTC check out the place before you go for an interview and good luck.You and the patients deserve better.


646 Posts

Unfortunately, good LTCs are the exception, in my experience-(agency since '87-so tons and tons of nursing homes.)

Lots of chiefs, no Indians (no offense-I'm Cherokee).

Covering-up abuse and neglect, forcing employees to clock out, then come back to work off the clock (or lose their job), huge turnover rates (and they wonder why!).

Watching supposedly 'normal' people become tyrants simply because someone gave them a title and a little power. Screaming, cursing at staff-in front of residents, denying it later.

Sprucing up a week before "state" walks in. Staffing extra when surveyors are expected-(and ALWAYS revise staffing sheet with pencil-the first lesson taught in LTC-lets administration falsify if surveyors ask about staffing.) Staffing on paper with employees who quit months ago.

Yep, it is worse than bad. There is a special place in hell for LTC owners and administration.

I saw one administrator walk off the job when one of the corporate folks told her to down size. I will never forget her name, what was said, and her smile-and that was 16 years ago. The only administrative staff that had heart.

Hospitals any day for me-LTC/Residential/Group Homes-heartbreaking.

So very sorry you went through this, and more that your G-mother was there.


Specializes in ER/Trauma. Has 4 years experience.

I have been in a similar boat, but transferred out to another arm of the same corporation and looooove it. It is night and day compared to where I was. I am struck by the residents I left behind, saddened by their situation. I believe LTC is need of a serious overhaul of the system and quickly. I think nurses should be able to input on what needs to change, only then will you see real meaningful change for our residents.

As far as LTC goes, they aren't all like this, good ones are out there, you just have to look for them.


129 Posts

No, this is not typical. What you describe sounds horrible. I work in a LTC/rehab and while it could be improved, I would probably be able to get a good nights sleep if my mother were a pt. there. I have worked agency in several other facilities and I've seen unpleasant things, but nothing like what you experienced.

AngelfireRN, MSN, RN, APRN

2 Articles; 1,291 Posts

Specializes in med-surg, psych, ER, school nurse-CRNP. Has 15 years experience.

I did report them, but nothing happened. Called the ombudsman, he said he'd check it out, nothing happened. I will not go back, lesson learned. Thanks for letting me know I'm not just a namby-pamby whiner.

polish nurse

20 Posts

In my experience-yes. CNA's sleeping on night shift, on-going missed meds by med techs and terrible, terrible staffing. This was "assisted living", no less. Total care patients in violation of state regs. In defense of the CNA's they were paid $9/hr and working 2-3 jobs. All this under my license. I have been told to lie to resident's family. There definitely is a special place in hell for these owners making millions while substandard or no care is delivered to our seniors. If the families only knew. Triple diapering on the Alzhiemer's unit?? The list goes on and on. I have left adminstration and am going back to homecare as a visiting nurse not as an adminstrator. Unfortunately, supervising seems to have become more and more risky as more responsibilties are turned over to unlicensed personel with minimal, minimal training. What are the various state nursing boards thinking when they issue these "certificates"?

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