Nursing Home Question?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Hound dog, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    This is just my own curiosity.

    For those of you who have family members (or had) in nursing homes, did they have a phone in their room?

    Now I've worked in many a nursing home. I've trained for clinicals in many a nursing home. And always the patients had a phone in the room. Usually it was shared. And tv's too. by the way

    mother in law is in the best nursing home in the county. And it truly is a very nice place, especially for this area.

    BUT first thing I noticed was no tv and no phone. The tv, ok I can see that. And her roomate has her own tv in there. But no phone??

    The no phone thing has stuck in my craw since mother in law got there. It bugs the heck outta me. What if she wants/needs something? What if she just gets lonely and wants to talk? What if she's being mistreated and needs us to come and step in for her? She has no way of reaching us. At. All. And that bugs me no end.

    So I asked at the nurses station. Oh, we could pay to have a phone jack put in if another patient hadn't already done it, the wiring is there. HUH?? Uh, excuse me? Medicare is paying 4 grand for her to just BE there and you can't supply phone?:mad::surprise:

    So I asked if she could have a cell phone. She can. So I'm going to go look at those Cricket phones they've been advertising. Supposed to have big screens and large buttons and husband can put in numbers she'll want to call. And we can get pre-paid minutes.

    So, I wonder, is it just this nursing home? Or are others doing the same?
  2. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    When SO was in a home after his hip replacement, it worked the same way (we didn't have cell phones then). No phone or TV unless you put a phone in or brought your own TV. The nurses station had a portable phone if I wanted to talk to him, which entailed tracking down HIS nurse and having her take him the phone, but I think the "your own phone/your own TV is the norm.

  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Sadly, I think this is or is becoming the norm. When our neighbor had to go into a nursing home they had to put a phone in. The first one, near her home, already had a phone. But when she moved to TX to be near her siblings there was no phone. They actually said that they did NOT recommend installing a phone line. They recommended cell phones. Not sure why.

    I hope mother in law can adjust to the cell phone. I saw one advertised for older people, If I find the magazine I will PM the info to you.
  4. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    I got my mom the Jitterbug phone. She never owned a cell phone and I wanted it simple. She takes it everywhere including the hospital. I know I can get her no matter where she is(if she remembers to take it- but that's another rant). LOL.
  5. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    When I worked in the nursing home, no TV or phone in pt's rooms unless they paid for it and brought one in. Just the way it was. Now that was 11 years ago, so things have changed.
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Well, obviously I'm behind the times. lol

    Fran I'll look into Jitterbug too. I think Nichole mentioned it to me. But I don't know much about cell phones as I avoid them. mother in law will need it to be simple and easy to use.

    I guess they have to cut cost somehow in order to keep the fees down. But no phones seems pretty harsh to me. :(
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I firmly beleive phones should be available. But in my experience, they often are not. Part of the reason is, nursing homes are money machines for somebody. I've worked for a journal that was published for nursing homes and private hospitals, so I had to deal with a lot of the organisations associated with this. Many of the people I had to deal with, were NOT in this business out of altruism.

    At the same time, my mother was in a nursing home and miserable. No phone, if we wanted to talk to her we had to call the nurses station and hope they had the time to take the phone to her, and tat she was available (and not being showered, or fed or whatever). She couldn't make any calls herself. As a result, she felt like a prisoner. She wasn't well-cared for, at every turn this place was doing its best to freeze out family. One or other of my siblings would turn up to visit and often have to wait, sometimes for hours. She got pneumonia in just a few weeks and went to the local hospital, where she had a phone and we could telephone her and she could call us. She madde the choice to die there rather than go back. After she died, I began complaint proceedings and was NOT surprised to have the nursing home state (what apperared to be their blanket response), "Nobody ever came to visit her, so how would you know what it was like for her?"
    I was able to point out, "I can understand why you believed this - you went out of your way to discourage visitors. But in her case, you failed to keep us out, so we DID see."

    I'm not saying that this particular nursing home is doing the wrong thing. They are e necessity for a lot of people and can be the best place, and a happy place, for people who have no choice. But they are also open to abuse and do need to be under scrutiny. Not having access to a phone, does make it a lot easier for them to have greater control over their inmates. At least if you have a phone, you can call.

    I remember a time when I was in hospital and waiting for my doctor to make his daily visit. I was hoping to be let out for the weekend and was fed up waiting for my doctor to arrive. I had repeatedly asked the nurses station to call him, but thye were too busy. So I used the phone beside my bed to call the doctor's secretary and ask her where he was and what time SHE thought he would get around to seeing me. OK, it was a bit naughty, but the phone allowed me to do it. It's not to be encouraged, if patients keep doing that sort of thing AND doctors object, they risk getting their phone privileges removed. It can be one possible reason why they won't allow phones. But it also keeps people on their toes, doing the right thing.

    In my case - the doctor was OK with it because he knew me well and knew I didn't abuse a privilege.

  8. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    Both my parents were in a nursing home. My dad not long, but my mom was there probably 6 or 7 years.

    For both (different homes) No phone. Never saw one in any room. You could bring your own TV but there is only one spot to put it so it would be in view of both.

    They could use the phone at the desk anytime. Or we could call and they would get her. But, in her case she couldn't talk.

    the most disturbing I found was when she first entered the nursing home. She could walk with a walker, and speak a little, and use the bathroom with assistance. They put a diaper on her and would just leave her. She would ask to go to the bathroom and they would tell us they didn't have time, that she had a diaper on.

    No bra - ever. She wanted one. She would flash us to show us. My sister who lives in town would ask them to put one on her. As time went on and she couldn't speak at all or move, they didn't dress her well. When I would go to town she either wouldn't have her glasses on or she wouldn't have HER glasses on. My mom has ALWAYS worn glasses. She had a Cpap machine for sleep apnea. My sister couldn't find it. They said it was misplaced. Then they said it was broke. For how long? My sister couldn't get there too often. My mom fell out of bed. They didn't put the railings up. So for how long was she on the floor? she can't talk?

    What I saw, they dress them and park them in the lobby or hall and leave them there.

    It was just real sad.
  9. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    We had husband's g-mom in a nursing home/assisted living (she never made it to the assisted part). They had phones, but we brought a tv in for her. I think the phone was an extra fee.
  10. tawnya

    tawnya New Member

    My grandpa is allowed a TV and a phone, but the family had to bring both in. The remote is currently missing for the TV, and that seems to happen alot. He may have thrown it away.

    Be careful what you wish for about the phone, LOL, he called grandma eight times this morning before we went to visit.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2009
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member could get her a prepaid cell...maybe a boost mobile which is prepaid and unlimited minutes...actually unlimited everything though mother in law wont use You dont want to be surprised if she starts calling you guys every 15 minutes...lmao.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Yes, the new thing now is to charge for everything. A phone is not part of the treatment plan, so you pay out of pocket. Same with-TV.
  13. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    Wow things sure have changed since I worked in nursing homes. They all used to have phones. Not necesarily tvs but definately phones. Things they are a changing. Hope you get a simple one for her to use. I can't imagine.

  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It just seems so dangerous for them not to have phones. I could not IMAGINE the hissy my Gma would have thrown if she couldn't have a phone in the assisted living center or nursing home.

    I have a friend who's gma was in a nursing home. The nurses didn't want her to tell the family what was going on so they kept throwing the phone under the bed. One day one of the orderlies got annoyed with the Gma and pushed her to the floor. She manged to crawl partway under the bed and get the phone. She called 911 and then my friend.

    It was incredibly sad. When she was in the hospital (nursing home actually tried to refuse to allow the ambulance personnel into the home!) the NH insisted that she had fallen by herself and refused to allow them to pick her up. Gma told another story, of being hit, kicked, left in a dirty diaper with rails she couldn't put down by herself so she couldn't get out of bed, and even being refused FOOD and WATER for being "uncooperative". They actually found bruises (new AND healing) in the shape of fists and shoes. A heel shaped bruise on her FACE!

    The home is now closed and of course my friend sued. They tried for a quiet settlement, but friend insisted on a state investigation AND a settlement.

    This is the kind of risk that scares me if they don't have phones.

    When I had my back surgery they kept the phone too far away for me to use. It wouldn't even stretch to reach me. The nurses forgot, I guess, that I had a card from the patient care supervisor. I called her about 2 am because they wouldn't give me migraine medications OR let me take my own, even though the doctor had written orders for it (I SAW the orders after he wrote them - made him show me because this had happened during my hysterectomy).

    The nurses were FURIOUS that I had reported them. If my mom hadn't been staying with me overnight I would have been afraid to report anything until I left.

    Make sure she has a phone she can easily use. the jitterbug is the one I was referring to in my earlier post.

    Gentle hugs to all of you!
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Phones were of no use when my mom was in the nursing home because by then she was in the deeper stages of Alzheimers and couldnt use a phone. I dont remember if there was a phone in her room or not. I do know a tv was in the room but I have no idea if it was her roommates or if it belonged to the facility. Again, didnt matter, my mom had no clue what she was watching.

    Now when I was in Rehab...I had a phone and a tv. Plus I had my cellphone. I had a very hard time even using any phone for a long time because they were so heavy for me to hold because of the problems with my arms. Even my little cell phone would be hard for me to hold.
  16. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    ok I worked in NHs 1991 to approx 2003. I worked in a private one & the county run one. neither supplied phones in rooms. neither had cells but cells were rare then. when I inquired I was given many excuses why no phones. one 'reason' was safety. an unsteady pt might stumble trying to answer. another was that it might become problematic to have someone confused or hard of hearing & could be a problem for a roomate? sadly yes tvs also were not supplied in pt rooms but I usually worked alzheimers dementia & hospice & my pts usually didn't care about a tv. in 2005 my mom spent a lil time in one & she did have a phone in her room but her confused roomate & roomates visitors very often answered it before my mom could & hung up on my moms calls & the staff often set my moms phone in places she couldn't reach. when my aunt was in NH in 2004 the facility did have cell phones that staff kept for pts to use.....but I remember my aunt had no clue how to use it & I would call long distance to listen to my aunt cuss & struggle unsucessfully with that phone. just before I 'retired' pts began to get family supplied cellls & plugging it in to charge overnite became another of our duties similar to eyeglass or denture care. fwiw easy child didn't have a phone in hospital stay recently when she had baby either. & last hotel stay the room had no phone.
  17. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    susiestar- very similar happened to my mom. my sibs did not believe & I was aghast as this was supposedly the very best facility here (& mom was cash self pay) I went & sat with- mom & was devastated it was all true. I took mom out but my sibs hated me & refused to help with- mom....they swear me & mom made it up. there is now a class action suit going against this NH. its so sad so scary.