August 20th, 2019

Elderly Need to be Treated Better

I am writing this letter to inform the public of the mess our medical facilities are in. My mother became ill right after Christmas of 2014. She was brought by ambulance to CVH. We had no problems at the hospital. They were polite and helpful. We were told she would be transferred to either Fletcher Allen or Dartmouth-Hitchcock. We chose Dartmouth because we felt they were the best in the area.

Well, we were proven wrong. I have nothing against young people, but one particular girl who was employed there acted clueless as what to do. My mother was having trouble with the container her beverage had come in and she just stood there without helping my mother open it. Finally, I went over and did it myself. Also, when it was time for my mother to be discharged, the hospital wasn’t going to provide transportation back to the Barre area. My mother has very good health insurance (Medicaire and TRICARE). We were very concerned about this and felt my mother should have access to medical care on her way home. When they were confronted – through a friend of my sister’s who has worked in the medical field – that TRICARE would cover her, they provided the transportation.

The poor care didn’t end there. My sister and I were under the impression that Woodridge Nursing Home was the best in the area. Again, we were proven wrong. There is so much wrong up there I could write a book.

First off, there is very poor communication between the staff. Also, and this to me is very important, when the patients use their buzzers to alert the staff that someone needs assistance, they sometimes don’t respond for up to 45 minutes. This is unacceptable. My sister and I addressed this with the director of Woodridge. In turn, my mother was then asked what she was buzzing for. What difference does that make? Just do your job and answer the buzzer. These poor patients are ill.

Also, most of the time my mother would be told by one of the employees that they would get whatever it was that she needed, and they wouldn’t return to her room. In fact, she found out one of the employees had gone home.

My mother is not supposed to have a lot of salt on her food, but they repeatedly put salt on her tray after being told not to. My mother told them repeatedly she did not like tea. Again, they would keep sending it on her tray. Poor communication!

Also, there was an incident where my mother needed assistance and the employee refused to help her even after my mother said she tried to do it herself and couldn’t. If this person doesn’t like her job, work somewhere else!

My mother needed physical therapy, and she also has congestive heart failure. She would walk in the hall with various therapists. One day, one of these therapists was pushing my mother on the back, trying to get her to go faster. I brought this up in one of our meetings and was told they wanted to see how fast and far she could walk in 6 minutes. This is all fine and good, but when the patient says she is out of breath and can’t walk at that pace, you discontinue doing what you are doing, not keep on! My mother called me at one time and she was gasping for air. I called the facility to let them know.

From the time my mother entered Woodridge, that’s all my sister and I heard, “Discharge, discharge, discharge!” We felt like they wanted to push her out.

One serious incident took place. An RN gave my mother Tamiflu and then informed my sister that she had found out that when you are on Coumadin (blood thinner) you should not be given Tamiflu. She said she felt terrible and apologized. If my mother had fallen and cut herself, she could have bled to death! People trust these facilities, but I guess you can’t. And when you speak up, they don’t like it. When Home Health went to her house for an assessment and the gentleman asked my mother if she had ever smoked, she said many years ago and just 1 or 2 cigarettes once in awhile. He acted very surprised and my sister asked him why. He said Woodridge had written on her discharge papers that she had abused tobacco!

I would like to thank the two young girls who brought my mother a Valentine’s card. That was very thoughtful, and I appreciate it.

Our elderly are not being treated with respect or dignity. Much improvement is needed! These employees will be in the same situation perhaps one day. I hope for their sake that they are treated better than my mother was.

Linda Plante
Barre, VT

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