This spring my mother, who lives in Oslo, Norway, became very ill. She needed abdominal surgery. The operation went well, but she was frail, and has a bad heart, so she had to recover in a nursing home after being discharged from the hospital. You are supposed to recover in your own part of town, close to friends and family, but there were no openings in my mother's part of town, so she ended up living a 4omin. subway ride away. We spent hours going back and forth over the weeks.
Complications from the surgery led to another hospital stay, and more surgery. She was sent back to the same place to recover, as there were still no openings in her own part of town. She stayed for 6 weeks in all, wheel-chair bound after the 2nd surgery.
In retrospect her first nursing home was very nice. My mother got a fairly spacious single room, with a sunny window. The food was good. The staff was very kind and responsive, both to my mother and to her family, but they were almost all substitutes, as the "real" staff were away on holiday.
My mother was told that she needed and would get physical therapy, but the therapist was away on holiday. When she began to feel better, she wanted to have her hair and feet cared for, but those professionals were away on holiday. We tried to make an appointment with the doctor to talk about mother's need for physical therapy, but he was only there once a week. We decided to make an appointment with the head nurse instead, but she was going on holiday the next day. We were finally able to make an appointment with the substitute head nurse, and she arranged for mother to get physical therapy, several times a week - for what turned out to be the last week she stayed at the facility.
After 6 weeks it all of a sudden became urgent for the administrators in my mother's part of town that she be moved. After a special "queen's" farewell breakfast, she was picked up on Friday morning, before she had her medicines.
Fortunately, I had asked to be able to ride with my mother, as she was transferred. When we arrived at the new nursing home, no one was there to greet her. Mother had traveled in a wheel-chair belonging to the taxi company that drove us, and they needed it back - but there were no wheel-chairs in the reception area.
We waited and waited, and an old, uncomfortable wheel-chair without foot rests was finally borrowed from somewhere. There was still no one "in charge" present to greet my mother, or help her move in, but I got someone to show us to her room. The room was about the same size as the one she had before, but it was a double - someone else was already living there, behind a curtain.
As no one came to help, I unpacked my mother's things, putting them in a closet and drawers that had someone else's name on them. I was told that lunch was at 1 PM, and that the head nurse was in a meeting, so we went for a walk, and sat in the garden for a little while. Unlike at Furuset, there was no livingroom to sit in, only a sterile cafeteria.
At 1PM we were told that lunch was at 1:30. My mother had still not gotten her morning medications, and had not been formally checked in by the nursing staff. I sat in the hallway - there was no other place for me to sit - and waited for the head nurse, while mother ate.
When the head nurse arrived, she told me that she was going on holiday. The physical therapist would have to order a wheel-chair for my mother, sometime next week. It would take a week or two for it to arrive. She was very surprised that my mother had not gotten her medicines - was I sure? After calling the home my mother had just left, the nurse finally arranged for my mother to get her medicines. We asked for a pillow for mother to sit on, as the wheel-chair was so uncomfortable.
Tuesday of the following week mother was in a lot of pain from sitting in the uncomfortable and ill-fitting wheel-chair. She had not been given a pillow to sit on. She felt that she was not getting her medicines, or at least not enough to deal with her pain. She had not been seen by the physical therapist. Why on earth was she rushed into a situation where she was not being cared for properly?
We asked to see the doctor on call to discuss the situation, and he saw us right away. He agreed that mother needed to have her pain killers increased, that she needed a pillow to sit on, and a new wheel-chair and physical therapy. The next day she had all of those things.
I feel that I spent most of the summer arguing and cajoling to get my mother the most basic care.
What is going on?
What happens to the old or sick person who does not have someone looking out for them?
My mother is still "being evaluated" and still in the double room that she can not lock. Last week someone stole $100 out of her purse.