Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Those who mistreat veterans won't get what they really deserve

Governor Phil Bredesen ordered all of Tennessee's State Veterans' Homes closed to new patients after serious quality of life and care issues were uncovered at the Murphreesboro veterans facility. Among the homes that have been ordered not to take new patients is the brand new Ben Atchley Veterans Home in Knoxville.

Officials with the State Health Department are adamant that no similar issues such as those found in Murphreesboro have been found at Knoxville, but the Atchley Home is being closed to new patients as part of the Governor's blanket order. State quality-assurance nurses are being sent to inspect each facility to insure that everything is on the up-and-up.

In spite of the public statements by State health personnel that all is presently well and fine at the Knoxville home, the reaction of Melissa Franklin, the administrator of the Atchley Veterans' Home, when reporter Fred Brown from the Knoxville News-Sentinel showed up to have a look around does not give me great reassurance.

A reporter was turned away from the Knoxville home Tuesday after making inquiries to Melissa Franklin, the Atchley Home administrator.

Asked if the doors to the facility had been closed to patients, Franklin said, "Does it look like it?" She refused to answer further questions and asked the reporter to leave.

Sounds like Ms. Franklin has something to hide, folks...what does Ms. Franklin not want the public to know about the nursing home she runs-a home designed especially for military veterans?

My wife works in a nursing facility. As is the case with any such place, even the nursing staff feels there could always be better care for the residents, even when they are doing their very best. The people who run that home have nothing to hide-State inspectors routinely give it the highest marks that can be given to a nursing facility. Locals here will tell you it is the best nursing home in the county. The State of Tennessee has recently rated it among the best in the State. The public is welcome to visit there, and I am certain the news media would be also. There is little reason to turn the press away when a facility is in good shape and residents are well-treated.

So why did the administrator of the Atchley Home turn the press away from the nursing home she runs? What is there to hide there that the press should not see? The State of Tennessee needs to find out. I have often been critical of Governor Bredesen, but here is a situation where he and the State Health Department have made the right move.

Maltreatment of our elders who are in long-term care facilities is a chronic problem and that is bad enough. Abuse or mistreatment of war veterans? Those who are guilty of this horrible business will lose their nursing or CNA certification and could be placed on a State or federal abuse registry-but they will never get what they deserve.

Those who mistreat or abuse our war veterans, or who stand idly by when they have the ability to stop such abuse-they deserve nothing short of a firing squad.

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At Wednesday, June 20, 2007 12:06:00 PM, Blogger A. Renee Daley said...


Very seldom do STNA's or CNA's face any type of serious punishment for elder abuse. I know in a majority of the homes I've worked in - even an act of God cannot get these people fired.

When they won't even let people go for habitual absences and such, you might as well forget about trying to substantiate a claim of abuse. I'm not saying this is right, but most of the time staff members will not come forward out of fear of retaliation or out of fear of losing their jobs. If you look at the majority of people who work in nursing homes - they are people who are living paycheck to paycheck and desperately need to keep their employment.

I've been an aide for 14 years. Some thing never change, and this just happens to be one of those things.

It really is sad, when you stop and think about it.

At Friday, June 22, 2007 8:45:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just finished CNA class.I am now working in a nursing home facility. The biggest problem I have seen in clinicls and in the one I am working,is they are so understaffed. Tennessee needs to make sure that there are enough hours per resident in each long term facility. The residents don't get the attention they deserve because of this. Better pay for CNA's may make a difference also. They are the backbone in nursing homes. 80% of care is by a CNA. But they are underpaid. Until Goverment realizes that, nothing will ever change.

At Friday, June 22, 2007 9:57:00 AM, Blogger A. Renee Daley said...

To quote a former Director of Nursing, "Wants and needs are nice - but they're not in the budget." This was the response we got when we notified her of a staffing need.

As long as the state controls the staffing guidelines - which is how it is in Ohio, nothing will change. Nursing homes will staff with the minimum number they can always - because most long term care facilities are in business to make a profit.

As far as staffing goes, CNA work is hard work - and yeah the pay is crappy for what you have to put up with. This is why nursing homes have such a high turn over rate. It doesn't help that older and more experienced staff drive off new aides because they don't work fast enough.

At Monday, June 09, 2008 9:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is shocking but sadly it is not surprising. Delaware opened its veterans home in June 2007.
The administrator has warned employees that they will be fired if they talk to the press. Twenty questions about the Home were submitted and the answer to one question was that "drugs are not used to control behavior in the Home." Nurses report that the medical director has ten (10) veterans on Risperdal, approved for schizophrenia but widely used to control behavior in the elderly. It's not clear whether Delaware state inspectors have the stamina and authority to deal with the problems.

At Saturday, January 02, 2010 10:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are positive and negative statements made and all quite true.

One upset in nursing facilities is the lack of good C.N.A.s. It's surprising to learn how little some C.N.A.s desire to work after putting all that time, effort and money in obtaining their CNA License/Certificate and how many of the CNAs who call off on their scheduled work days and leave the facility shorthanded with feeble excuses or when they work hardest at trying to get out of work. (What are they there for?) Why do some facilities put up with so much absenteeism from their CNAs? This kind of CNA on staff creates a burdensome load on the CNAs who do work.

Caring and hard working CNAs are worth their salt if they perform well the tasks taught. Certainly the knowledgeable and caring CNAs are of the upper crust and should never be assumed as part of the old cliche, "CNAs are a dime a dozen", but given utmost respect for his/her profession.

I know one facility who hires at the same pay scale and never provides raises except cost of living when it's been allowed. In essence what one makes first hired; they leave with the same pay level. That's a real poor incentive for hiring CNA's who are willing to do their best and receive little after applying themselves to the books to become a CNA. It's plain there's no respect or appreciation for the CNAs here, but only that money is raked in for the private owner of his/her facility. This problem makes it hard on the excellent CNAs who fulfill their obligations on the job and are able to be counted on attendance wise and who often are working illegally understaffed.

Now some nursing facilities won't provide information of a resident's health condition which I believe is vital for the best of care to be given. No second guessing or a nurse's failure to pass on the news that so and so has Mrsa or C-dif to the unknowing C.N.A.s There's a real breakdown happening in facilities like this and If I should contact some disease that others could get, they should be told about it so CNAs and nurses are aware and cautious. One doesn't want to pass something on to their caregiver's family when they go home to them.

After being employed for 90 days plus in such a facility, the CNA has yet to receive insurance coverage that is due them. Excuses why they haven't been signed on yet are given. Who does one contact to protect the CNA of such abuse?

There are many websites about patient abuse, but where are the ones on CNA abuse and how to deal with certain issues from a facility who mistreats their CNAs on staff?


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