Gentle Penny Gadfly

September 4 at 8:43pm ·

Fight for Lynne Update 9-4-17 (2)

Answer to the question: WHY DON’T YOU REMOVE HER FROM THE NURSING HOME?

Several people have written asking why we haven’t taken my mother out of the nursing home and there are several reasons for this (see below).

Also, please understand that it is only since 8-1-17 that most of the neglect and abuse has come to light, and only because I started visiting at unusual times thinking my mother might need a change in her psych meds. Up till then, we had no idea of the extent of the problem. And even up until 8-21-17, when we finally met with the Exec Director, we still had hope that he and the administration would turn things around. His denial and accusations against me and my sister came as a huge SHOCK. And we were frankly stunned.

Believe me, we are now desperately exploring all other options. In the meantime, we have some very real challenges:

1) My mother Lynne has no assets other than a long-term care insurance policy that has almost run out.
2) We are a family of teachers and social workers and have no ability to pay.
3) My mother only has social security, Medicare and Medicaid.
4) Six months ago she was in a different nursing home much worse than where she lives now.
5) We are fearful that any other place we take her may be as bad or worse than where she is now.

But as we are feeling a bit desperate, we are considering trying to get her into one of our homes. But that also is a scary proposition we are not sure we can handle.

                               ____________________________________________________  

Gentle Penny Gadfly

September 4 at 2:33pm ·

Several people have written me and suggested I contact the media. I just sent an email to solveit7.

Thanks to everyone for the many kind words and suggestions. I hope solveit7 can help!

                               ____________________________________________________  

Gentle Penny Gadfly

September 4 at 12:59pm ·

UPDATE AND A CALL FOR INFO

A number of people have suggested I call the media. But before I do that, I would like to see if there are others who have gone through a similar struggle as we have. Please write and let me know if you or someone you know of has been banned from a nursing home unjustly as a result of reporting on substandard care. I could really use some ideas and advice from people with more experience with this type of situation. I can be reached privately at abesgentlepenny@gmail.com

Thanks, David

                               ____________________________________________________  
Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · September 4 at 12:53pm ·

Fight for Lynne Update 9-4-17

Fortunately this long weekend has gone better than I thought it would due to family and friends who have gone to visit my mother instead of me. I am very grateful.

And the situation we are in continues to bring heartache and stress to my entire family, enough so to pursue alternatives to the nursing home. We will start in earnest on Tuesday.

But it’s not going to be easy.

 

Gentle Penny Gadfly

September 3 at 11:58am ·

Fight For Lynne Update 9-3-17 (2)

COMPILATION EXPLANATION AND ACCORDION PLAYING

Many expressing concern over our ongoing struggle to stop the retaliatory actions against my mother Lynne and my family have asked how this all came about and have come to the GENTLE PENNY GADFLY midway. In response, I just posted a COMPILATION AND HISTORY OF ALL POSTS SINCE 8-23-17 to hopefully help fill in some of the gaps.

On Monday, 8-21-17, the Exec Director of the nursing home in which my mother resides, with no cause or justification, restricted my visitation making it nearly impossible for me to visit my mother Lynne; that despite I am her son and Health Care Proxy.

Until that day, for nearly six months, not only had I NOT had any sort of confrontation or negative exchange with any staff member, resident or resident’s family member, all of my interactions with the nursing home community were extremely positive, so much so that I was invited by staff (including chaplains and activity directors) and welcomed to play piano and accordion (on a volunteer basis) frequently throughout the facility. I played at religious services, birthday parties and gave performances for small groups.

Far from disrupting staff or patient care, staff and patients knew me by name or as the ‘accordion guy’ and constantly asked me to play and sing whenever I came into the building. Staff members, including administrators and including the Exec Director and his secretary often sang along and danced with/for residents while I played. It was a beautiful thing and I took it as a great blessing as much for me as for the nursing home community.

But everything changed on Tuesday, 8-1-17. Much of what happened is explained in the COMPILATION AND HISTORY OF ALL POSTS SINCE 8-23-17. And in my next post I will fill in more of the gaps.

                               ____________________________________________________  
Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · 10 hrs ·

Fight For Lynne Update 9-3-17 (1)

Spent much of the day reading and researching with interludes of frustration and indignation at the painfully absurd situation in which I find myself: son and health care proxy for my mother Lynne, banished for my advocacy in her behalf.

In my reading, I discovered not only that I am not alone, but that many nursing home administrators regularly use visitation restrictions and no-trespassing orders to intimidate and retaliate against family advocates who report health care lapses; to ‘shut them up.’ And along with widespread negligence and abuse, are equally widespread banishment of family members who ‘talk too much.’

Lise Cloutier-Steele, prolific writer and scholar on women’s health issues and lately retaliation by nursing home administrators she and many others face trying to advocate for a loved one; in her case, her dad, has shed much needed light. I fortunately came across her website ottawacaregiver.com this afternoon and wrote to her. She later reached out to me by phone and graciously expressed her concern and encouragement for my struggles advocating for my mother.

She is a very kind and knowledgeable person, as persistent and as I would ever hope to be. I recommend her website highly ottawacaregiver.com

Thanks for caring Lise!

                                   ____________________________________________________                                                                                                                                                    

Gentle Penny Gadfly

 

Lise Cloutier-Steele, prolific writer and scholar on women’s health issues and lately retaliation by nursing home administrators she and many others face trying to advocate for a loved one; in her case, her dad, has shed much needed light. I fortunatel...See More

Ottawa Caregiver | Useful information in support of caregivers

 

                                 ____________________________________________________  

                                 

Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · September 1 at 2:44pm ·

Fight For Lynne Update 9-1-17 (2)

UNEASY FEELING – DEPT OF PUBLIC HEALTH SURVEYORS GONE

My sister and I just arrived back from visiting Lynne at the Nursing Home. She’s fine, thank God, but I have an uneasy feeling.

When the DPH Surveyors came, the signs put up stated they would be in the facility until 9-5-17. Also, one of the state surveyors specifically told my sister that they would be in the facility until 9-5-17; and today is only the first (9-1-17). But all the signs are gone and the surveyors seem to have left completely. No sign of them anywhere.

Also, remember the place names that suddenly appeared on the tables at meals with each resident’s name artfully decorated? GONE!

And resident VXXXXXXX, who loves baseball and has cerebral palsy, she’s suddenly back in the Day Room at meals sitting in front of the ‘rickety’ bed table struggling away to eat as she did before the state came in on Tuesday. But, SHE DIDN’T HAVE HER EYE GLASSES ON. I asked her where her eye glasses were. She said she didn’t know. I asked her if she told someone. She shook her head no.

Now we are going into a long holiday weekend, and as of now the visiting restrictions are still on me, which means I will not be able to visit my mother Lynne at all until Tuesday.

And this is very scary to me because as many of you know, nursing homes are notoriously understaffed on weekends and during holidays, even the best of them.

I AM HOPING AND PRAYING THE VISITING RESTRICTIONS ARE TAKEN AWAY BY THE END OF THE DAY!!!

                                 ____________________________________________________      

                             

Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · September 1 at 11:28am ·

Fight for Lynne Update 9-1-17

SOME ODD CHANGES AND CONCERNs ABOUT RESIDENT VXXXXXXXX

The Mass Department of Health Surveyor Team has been at the nursing home since Tuesday and my sisters and I have noticed a number of odd if not encouraging changes. All of a sudden, on Wednesday, name cards appeared on the Day Room tables during meals, each with a resident’s name artfully hand drawn and colored. We’ve never seen that before.

All of a sudden, all the staff are wearing pagers. Apart from one or two, we’ve never seen that before.

All of a sudden, my mother has an ID band around her wrist with various color codes. That actually appeared two weeks ago. She’d never had a band on her wrist for the entire 6 months she’s been there.

Resident JXXXXXXXXX, who we’ve often seen calling out for water or complaining of being cold, has never looked so comfortable and warm. And resident M2XXXXXXXX also looks more comfortable than I have ever seen her.

Also, the setup for meals in the Day Room has changed. Most notable; the absence of resident VXXXXXX. Severely disabled with cerebral palsy, VXXXXXXX normally sits behind a raised bed table in the Day Room and struggles to eat her meals with no assistance. I have often seen her struggle, spill food and drink on herself and on the floor and then ignored and even at times sneered at by a rouge CNA with expressions of impatience and annoyance.

Resident VXXXXXXXXXX loves baseball and normally sits quietly on her own. She loves when I play the accordion and sing and always asks for Elvis Presley and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” I’ve never seen her complain or even ask for anything from anyone. Occasionally I will see other residents advocate for her. One instance I remember, resident BXXXXXXX noticed that resident SVXXXXXXXXX did not receive the meal she had requested and as politely as anyone could, informed the CNA. The CNA ignored resident BXXXXXXXX and VXXXXXXXXX hardly ate a thing on her plate.

I haven’t yet figured out what’s going on with resident VXXXXXXX, but I am concerned. Two days ago, when I passed her in the hall, her head was tilted way to the side and she looked sound asleep. This concerned me because unlike many other residents, I have never seen her out in the hall asleep. Compared to most of the residents, she is quite young (late 50s) and vibrant. Hopefully she’s OK.

                                 ____________________________________________________                                    

Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · August 31 at 4:52pm ·

Fight for Lynne Update 8-31-17 (3)

OTHER FRIGHTENING NURSING HOME STORIES POSTED

A number of posts have come in on Gentle Penny Gadfly of NURSING HOME stories similar to mine in many ways. Particularly striking are the number of people recounting stories of having VISITATION RESTRICTIONS put on them for no comprehensible reason other than they were reporting about lapses in the care of a loved one. This is shocking.

Although I feel a bit consoled knowing I am not the only one, people who have worked in nursing homes have posted that it is common practice for certain nursing homes, when a family member complains, to restrict their right to visit. Some have said it’s like a punishment to “shut people up” and make them afraid to advocate for a loved one. And I now honestly wonder if this is what has happened to me and my sister!

What a scary thought; especially wondering how wide spread this might be? Even if this happens in a small percentage of nursing homes, there would be huge numbers of patients, residents and their families all over the country frightened to death and as a result afraid to advocate for themselves or for loved ones. And for those without family or anyone to stick up for them, they would suffer alone and fearful, completely unable to stop any neglect and mistreatment being perpetrated against them. HOW CAN THIS BE?!!!

And more importantly, how can it be stopped?!!!!

                                 ____________________________________________________                                    

Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · August 31 at 10:33am ·

FRIEND REQUESTS REQUEST

To those of you who have sent ‘friend requests’ I want to thank you and let you know that it is taking a bit of time dealing with those. I appreciate your show of support and ask that in the meantime you become a follower of the GENTLE PENNY GADFLY facebook page; and encourage others to do the same. I am hoping to have a WEBPAGE up and running soon ABE’S GENTLE PENNY, and that may help.

IN the past several weeks I have received several hundred friend requests and I do not want to act irresponsibly in accepting them without having a good idea from who these requests are coming. I have been told that some may be spam or other parties without a genuine interest in our posts.

Thank you for your patience as I continue researching these requests. And as I mentioned, please continue showing your support by FOLLOWING the page, contributing your thoughts and ideas, and keeping an eye out for a new web page ABE’S GENTLE PENNY.

With great appreciation and sincerely,

David

                                 ____________________________________________________                                    

Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · August 31 at 10:16am ·

Fight For Lynne Update 8-31-17 (2)

SOME ENCOURAGING DEVELOPMENTS

Some encouraging developments have emerged in the past couple of days. On Tuesday, my sister called and said ‘they’re here.’ I asked her who. And she said ‘the state inspectors.’ Starting Tuesday, surveyors from the Mass Department of Public Health arrived at the nursing home to start a weeklong inspection of my mother Lynne’s nursing home and yesterday, my sister and I sat down with two representatives and shared our story.


We were both impressed with them. They listened intently, asked key questions and took lots of notes. It made us very hopeful and we were encouraged!

Hopefully they will help get the restriction to my visits lifted so that I can continue monitoring my mother and continue playing the accordion and singing without fear of intimidation and loss of visitation rights! As I explained in a previous post, the exec director’s imposition of those visiting restrictions was completely unjustified and without any just cause.

Having gone up the chain of command in the nursing home with no results, my sister and I finely asked for a meeting with the Executive Director with whom, for five months prior to 8-1-17, I had had an extremely positive relationship. I sent him a complete summary of my concerns prior to the meeting. The meeting occurred Monday, 8-21-17 with five in attendance: me, my sister L, the Elder Services Ombudsman, the Nursing Home Exec Director and the Nursing Home CEO (invited last minute by the Exec Director). Without discussion or opportunity to explain our concerns, the Exec Director dismissed all of our most serious concerns as false, accused me of disrupting the work of the nursing home staff and then imposed severe restrictions on my visits in such a way that I would no longer be able to visit my mother at all: limiting me to weekdays from 9 to 4 pm and no weekends; knowing full well that with my public-school teaching schedule, I would not be able to visit at all. And sadly, since that day, I have not seen or spoken with my mother!

On the face of it, by virtue of the simple facts and without debating whether or not I disrupted staff in their work, THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS.

About 3 days before the restrictions were imposed, one of the Activities Directors asked me if I would play the accordion and sing for a resident’s birthday party. She would never have asked me if the administration really believed I was in any way disrupting the work of their employees! And in addition, the following:

1. The disruptive behavior I was accused of supposedly happened prior to 8-21-17 and no accusation was made about my behavior on 8-21-17.


2. Prior to the 8-21-17, the day they restricted my visitation, I was never spoken to or informed about disrupting staff in any way.


3. I was never once given any kind of warning regarding disruptive behavior prior to 8-21-17.


4. Both policy and protocol dictate in such situations that a family member be informed and given some kind of warning before having their visitation restricted. This never happened.

The fact is I NEVER DISRUPTED THE WORK OF STAFF in any way or at any time. What I did and continue to do, with unfailing respect and courtesy, is bring to the attention of the nursing home administration severe lapses in my mother Lynne’s care!

                                 ____________________________________________________                                    

Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · August 31 at 9:46am ·

Fight For Lynne Update 8-31-17

Played Accordion and Sang at the nursing home yesterday for the first time in quite a while.

A good friend George came to visit from NYC the past few days and for the first time in a while, I relaxed and had some laughs. He’s quite a vocalist and we spent several hours at the piano, both of us singing our hearts out to everything from Billy Joel to Broadway. It was great fun. He also came with me to see my mother Lynne and for the first time since Monday 8-21-17 I played the accordion for my mother and her friends at the nursing home. It was wonderful to see my mother and the others singing and laughing and enjoying the old tunes like ‘Harvest Moon’ and ‘My Wild Irish Rose’ etc.

Before the nursing home put the restrictions on my visits, I played the accordion and sang quite a bit at the nursing home. Just four days before our last meeting, 8-21-17, with the Exec Director, the Director of Activities asked me to play and sing at a birthday party on another floor. Through the past 6 months I’ve been asked to play throughout the nursing home and it’s been a lot of fun.

Music and math have been my main fields of interest and work. I have taught in public schools for over 20 years and directed choruses and instrumental ensembles from elementary to adult. It’s definitely a passion of mine.

About 5 years ago when my mother first entered assisted living facilities, I volunteered playing the piano and leading sing-alongs. Soon other assisted living and nursing homes asked me to play and perform and since then have played in quite a number of places in Massachusetts. I also became musical director of an Italian Singing group called THE ITALIAN SERENADERS with whom I performed all over the place in Italian Festivals, nursing homes, civic events, etc. Prior to working with the Italian Serenaders, I only played piano. But to accommodate the ‘strolling’ at festivals, I took up the accordion and have kept playing ever since.

It was great playing yesterday for my mother and her friends at the nursing home! I hope at some point in the future I will be allowed to continue playing. I know the residents love when I play and my sisters have said that many ask about me since the nursing home put on the visiting restrictions. Hopefully the Cease and Desist Letter sent by the lawyer we hired will force the nursing home to reconsider.

Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · August 29 at 2:36pm ·

CEASE AND DESIST ORDER SENT OUT TODAY!!! YAY!!!

                                 ____________________________________________________                                    

Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · August 29 at 12:16pm ·

Fight For Lynne Update 8-29-17

We are still waiting for our lawyer to send out the Cease and Desist Letter to the nursing home so that I can begin visiting again. It’s been a week. Fortunately friends and family have been going in to check on my mother Lynne. Surprisingly or maybe not so surprisingly, they think they see improvements in Lynne’s care. But still, yesterday, my sister went in to find my mother’s floor EXTREMEY short staffed: where normally there are 3 CNAs on duty, there was only one. Several residents were in distress and my mother was left in bed all afternoon. My sister is sure that if she hadn’t arrived when she did, my mother would have missed dinner.

And meanwhile, I languish at home unable to do anything myself except update this Facebook Page and continue researching as much as I can on the neglect of our elderly in this country. I just hope and pray that my efforts will even in a small way contribute to positive change.

Please become a FOLLOWER of this page in any way you can. People have told me recently that it could make a big difference.

Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · August 28 at 10:20am

Fight for Lynne Update 8-28-17 (2) Resident EXXXXXX and my accordion playing.

Through the past year I have become very fond of resident EXXXXXXX. She’s a real character and at 92 shows a quick wit and memory any 20 year old would be proud to have. One of the connections we shared right away, her Italian heritage, we’ve continued to enjoy on a daily basis through the great Italian folk music we both know and love.

I have often played the accordion and sung at the nursing home and actually picked up quite a following. During the past 6 months, I have been frequently asked by staff and residents to perform in various parts of the nursing home and on all 4 floors. In fact, just a few days before the Executive Director restricted my visiting rights, one of the Activities Directors asked me to play accordion for a birthday party in the outdoor patio (making the Directors actions against me all the more baffling).

Anyway, back to EXXXXX. In short, EXXXXXXX is a wonderful ball of energy and lots of laughs.

And it’s for that reason my sister was especially upset when she arrived on my mother’s floor and found resident EXXXXXX crying and shaking (we’ve never seen her cry!!!). When she saw my sister she said she had to use the toilet and has been waiting for hours. She said one CNA literally refused to take her. My sister immediately informed a nurse and she was taken to the toilet. THIS SHOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED!!!

                                 ____________________________________________________                                    

Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · August 28 at 9:50am ·

Fight for Lynne Update 8-28-17 (1)

This is an agonizing wait for help.

We’ve filed reports with the state and last week we hired an attorney; who has or will shortly send a Cease and Desist letter to the nursing home demanding an immediate lift of any restrictions on my visiting my mother Lynne; I have not seen her since last Monday.

The abuse and neglect my sisters and I have witnessed is no doubt appalling. But top nursing home administrators making false accusations against me and my sister in response to our reporting and instead of addressing the issues, retaliating against us by restricting our visiting and allowing staff (two or three) to intimidate us and treat us with hostility, is almost too much to bear.

                                 ____________________________________________________                                    

Gentle Penny Gadfly

August 27 at 11:34am ·

To everyone who has expressed concern and support for my mother Lynne, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Moving forward I will be transferring communications to my mother's own Facebook Page so that a place will exist completely dedicated to her. Please find that here.

                                 ____________________________________________________                                    

Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · August 27 at 8:43am ·

Fight For Lynne Update 8-27-17 (2)

A number of people have asked similar questions I will try to address.

Q1: Several have asked why we haven’t moved Lynne out of the nursing home.
A1: We have begun looking into that possibility. But with few financial resources and very limited options, it is an extremely difficult prospect.

Q2: Others have asked whether we have found a lawyer.
A2: Yes, we have and tomorrow, the nursing home will receive a Cease and Desist letter demanding a stop to all visiting restrictions imposed on me and preventing the nursing home from imposing any further restrictions on other members of my family.

Q3: Some have asked if we have submitted complaints to state and federal agencies.
A3: Yes, we have. So far we have registered complaints with Elder Services of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. I have also contacted the ACLU of Massachusetts.

Q4: People have asked what they can do to help.
A4: I don’t really know. But I suspect not a lot. At this point it’s really up to me and my family to take action.

But I do believe, especially for the sake of elders throughout our country, spreading the word will help. Keep sharing your thoughts, ideas and stories on Gentle Penny Gadfly! And invite everyone you know to do the same.

Our fight for Lynne is a fight for all elderly and disabled throughout the country. And if we allow this page to be a sounding post and clarion call for everyone, maybe we can come together and demand the changes that need to be made to keep our elderly and disabled safe and protected!

                                 ____________________________________________________  

                                 

Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · August 27 at 8:13am ·

Fight For Lynne Update 8-27-17 (1)

As I continue learning to navigate facebook and the varied ways people have reached out to me and my family, I want to thank everyone for your thoughts and words of encouragement. Thank you also for sharing your stories and letting me know I am not alone.

                                 ____________________________________________________                                    

Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · August 26 at 4:59pm ·

Fight For Lynne Update 8-26-17 Page 2

Today I sat down with a couple of ex-students of mine, both in their late twenties, busy pursuing their careers and making their marks in business. Both are close friends I hold in very high regard. But when we spoke at length about the shocking challenges confronting me in my fight for my mother Lynne, their reactions surprised me a little.

Both were very sympathetic and understanding. But my ears perked with dismay at a number of thoughts they shared about the situation. While genuinely horrified and sorry about what I had told them, one said in regard to the Executive Director of the nursing home: he’s just trying to follow his business model and has to look closely at price points and valuations. “Isn’t he just doing his job by trying to look out for the bottom-line of his nursing home any way he can?” And the other commented with a question of understanding and sympathy that with all of his responsibilities as Exec Director, isn’t it understandable that he would see you as a nuisance, deny all accusations of wrong doing and do everything he could to get rid of you? And he continued, “There’s no morality in business, is there?”

As we spoke further, I did my best to point out what I saw as errors in their line of thought. I also recounted some of the harsh facts of the situations I confronted since 8-1-17: one example being the imposition of restrictions on my visits by the nursing home administration which occurred 8-21-17.

Having gone up the chain of command in the nursing home with no results, my sister and I finely asked for a meeting with the Executive Director with whom, for five months prior to 8-1-17, I had had an extremely positive relationship. I sent him a complete summary of my concerns prior to the meeting. The meeting occurred Monday, 8-21-17 with five in attendance: me, my sister L, the Elder Services Ombudsman, the Nursing Home Exec Director and the Nursing Home CEO (invited last minute by the Exec Director). Without discussion or opportunity to explain our concerns, the Exec Director dismissed all of our most serious concerns as false, accused me of disrupting the work of the nursing home staff and then imposed severe restrictions on my visits in such a way that I would no longer be able to visit my mother at all: limiting me to weekdays from 9 to 4 pm and no weekends; knowing full well that with my public-school teaching schedule, I would not be able to visit at all. And sadly, since that day, I have not seen or spoken with my mother!

On the face of it, by virtue of the simple facts and without debating whether or not I disrupted staff in their work, THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS.

1. The disruptive behavior I was accused of supposedly happened prior to 8-21-17 and no accusation was made about my behavior on 8-21-17.
2. Prior to the 8-21-17, the day they restricted my visitation, I was never spoken to or informed about disrupting staff in any way.
3. I was never once given any kind of warning regarding disruptive behavior prior to 8-21-17.
4. Both policy and protocol dictate in such situations that a family member be informed and given some kind of warning before having their visitation restricted. This never happened.

The fact is I NEVER DISRUPTED THE WORK OF STAFF in any way or at any time. What I did and continue to do, with unfailing respect and courtesy, is bring to the attention of the nursing home administration severe lapses in my mother Lynne’s care!

                                 ____________________________________________________                                    

Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · August 26 at 10:30am ·

Fight For Lynne Update 8-26-17

Through the weeks, up until my visits were restricted by the nursing home administration, my sisters and I have been given several, unsolicited accounts by residents and their family members of heartbreaking incidents of neglect and abuse; all corroborated by what we ourselves have witnessed and reported to nursing home administrators. Some of what we have witnessed is described below.

Resident JN, veteran and all around nice guy is often quick with a smile and ‘thumbs up’ when I play the accordion for the residents (up until my visits were restricted by the nursing home administration) on my mother’s floor; he especially likes ‘I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.’ Skinny as a rail and mild mannered, JXXXX sits most of the day in his wheel chair when he is not left in bed.

Although JXXXXs ability to communicate is limited, it’s easy to tell when something is wrong and he has reached out to me and my sister often when he has been ignored and scoffed at by staff. On one occasion, as I passed him in the hall, JXXXXXX literally grabbed me and begged me to help him to a toilet, saying he had pain in his stomach and rear end and had been sitting ‘all day’ calling out to staff for help. I found a nurse and finally a CNA came and helped him to his room. He later expressed gratitude for my intervention.

JXXXXX often reaches out to others, including my sister and residents on the second floor. Resident BXXX has recounted a number of times JXXX has called out for water only to be left alone and ignored. Both my sister and I have witnessed the same and reported it to a CNA or nurse. But on at least two of those occasions, staff have responded by saying there is nothing they can do, ‘it is his illness.’ But what illness warrants ignoring a person begging to use the toilet or have a drink of water?

                                 ____________________________________________________                                    

Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · August 24 at 8:22pm ·

Fight for Lynne Update 8-24-17

My mother Lynne resides in one of Massachusetts’ “best” nursing homes, and yet what she and others are forced to endure has shocked the conscious; brought my family and I to tears and paralyzed us with fear.

But we are paralyzed no longer. Our fight for Lynne is a fight for all elderly souls trapped in nursing homes, unable to fend for themselves and left to suffer needlessly and unjustly; people of good will who have spent rich lives at work and at play, raising families; braving the storms and serving their country boundlessly: from community service in their local churches to armed service in the United States Military.

And make no mistake and let there be no misunderstanding, the Health Care Profession is a noble calling and from my firsthand experience, the vast majority of Health Care Professionals are hardworking, caring and compassionate people who serve with dedication and love! Nonetheless, for reasons often left obscured and hidden, huge numbers of elderly, disabled people are languishing and it is up to us, the younger and able bodied to respond and help turn things around.

My fight for my mother Lynne must be our fight for every elderly and disabled person ignored and left alone in their pain and isolation; including and especially when family and loved ones are misled, even by wishful thinking or self-delusion, and made to believe that ‘things are OK.’

THINGS ARE NOT OK.

My family’s fight for our mother Lynne has intensified during this past month and after numerous communications and meetings with nursing home administrators we have been forced to plead for help from Elder Services of Massachusetts and file reports with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. And due to the many incidents of neglect and abuse of other residents my family and I have witnessed, I have also begun filing reports to the ACLU of Massachusetts.

As I attempt to fill this page with posts and updates on our struggle, I encourage anyone and everyone to share ideas and stories peaceably and with compassion.

                                 ____________________________________________________                                    

Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · August 23 at 10:06am ·

To anyone who has tried to contact me lately, I want to apologize.

Since March I have been engaged in a struggle to protect my mother Lynne and keep her safe in the Nursing Home where she currently resides. It has taken a great deal of time and energy and I have often been unable to keep up with the most basic, daily routines and have unfortunately failed to keep in contact the way I would like.

Lately I have begun to devote time to researching the plight of our elderly in the USA who, as I have witnessed first hand, suffer terribly even in the most reputable facilities entrusted with their care.

It has been a brutal awaking for me and I have at times been overwhelmed with emotion and heartbreak at what I have witnessed, especially during the past 6 months.

Apart from doing what I can to help my mother, I intend to dedicate as much time as possible bringing awareness to everyone and anyone I can reach about the horrific blight of the elderly and disabled in our country.

                                 ____________________________________________________                                  

Gentle Penny Gadfly

September 6 at 8:19pm ·

Fight For Lynne Update 9-6-17 (2)

Amidst the sadness of JXXXXXXXs passing and EXXXXX’s stroke (I posted about earlier today), more positive develops have emerged in the past few days regarding me mother Lynne. I spoke separately to my two sisters today and yesterday and we all agree that my mother looks better than we have seen her in months and months. Not only is she not moaning and looking anxious, but she is seeming more and more calm and relaxed. Whereas several weeks ago I would come in and she would reach out to me in terror, with furrowed brow and gasps, she now simply smiles and says hello.

In the past few days she has been so happy and even been conversational to such an extent that other residents have commented saying they’ve never seen her like this before. I couple of days in conversation, we got a little silly with her and she began laughing…and I mean belly laughing like I don’t remember seeing for years. Are whole family is elated and we are just praying it continues.

And her care has definitely improved in some surprising and even slightly ridiculous ways.

1. One day last week I found her in the Day Room with two strange items on her lap: a silly rubbery squishy hairy ball and a small music player with a headset. I had never seen them before. The nurse said that PT had brought them down to her…not that she could use them on her own or any of us know how they are supposed to be used!!

2. The nursing home has started her on a new routine of physical therapy.

3. A message therapist has started coming in to give her 10 minute back rubs; which she unfortunately doesn’t really enjoy since the therapist comes in during her afternoon nap and she is sound asleep. I guess it’ the thought that counts lol…

4. Her eye glasses are always clean and on her face; and her dentures are always put in, both the upper and lower! WOW!!!

Below are three short videos of my mother Lynne. The third taken a few weeks back showing a bit of the stress and anxiety we were seeing (usually much worse than what’s on the video) and the other two taken recently of her belly laughing. Quite a difference!

 
                             ____________________________________________________  

Gentle Penny Gadfly

September 6 at 7:28pm ·

Fight For Lynne Update 9-6-17

SOME SAD NEWS ABOUT RESIDENTS JXXXXXXX AND EXXXXXXXX

JXXXXXXXX and EXXXXXXXX are two of the residents I’ve mentioned in previous posts. Unfortunately, JXXXXXXXX passed away yesterday and last week EXXXXXXXX had a major stroke, from which she may not recover.

JXXXXXXXX was the mild-mannered Army Vet I wrote about who enjoyed my accordion playing and gave me a ‘thumbs up’ when I played “I’ve Been Workin on the Railroad.” He’s the guy who my sister and I and other residents have seen ignored when calling out for water a number of times during the past several months. And he’s the one that once grabbed me in desperation and begged me to help him to the bathroom after sitting, ignored for hours in the hall.

And EXXXXXXXX is the feisty Italian lady who always asked me to play the old Italian songs like “o Sole Mio.” She’s the one you might remember my sister one day found in the hall crying and shaking because she had to use the toilet and the CNAs refused to take her.

No one can say for sure what led to these unhappy events. But it galls me and breaks my heart to see what’s become of them after having witnessed their past struggles and calls for help. JXXXXXX was just two years older than my mother and poor EXXXXXXX is now unable to talk…though she still smiles from ear to ear when I play and sing the Italian songs!

                               ____________________________________________________  

Gentle Penny Gadfly

September 5 at 4:30pm ·

Fight For Lynne Update 9-5-17 (1)

SOME POSITIVE DEVELOPMENTS

After 4 days (visiting restrictions prevent me from visiting on weekends and holidays) I went to visit my mother this morning and she looked wonderful and seemed as comfortable and relaxed as I have seen her in the past two years. No moaning! No hyper-anxiety! She was calm and smiling and even a bit conversational. It was wonderful to see, and I am elated! During the long weekend, friends and family went to visit and found my mother in a similar positive condition! I can’t help feeling encouraged.

Although it’s impossible to know for sure, I’d like to believe positive changes are occurring due to the complaints we’ve filed and the interviews we gave to the Dept of Public Health Surveyors. I’m also hoping that the nursing home is feeling the pressure of our lawyer.

Unfortunately, even after receiving the Cease and Desist Letter last week, the nursing home has not lifted the visiting restrictions put on me. And this is very frustrating and continues to cause our family great anxiety.

BUT WE ARE NOT GIVING UP! Our lawyer is drafting the law suit against the nursing home and will file it by Thursday. This means if they don’t lift the restrictions soon, we will see them in court. The outrage and injustice of the nursing home’s retaliation toward me and my family is infuriating for sure. But in the back of my mind, after the research I’ve done, I remember that we are not the only ones. It happens frequently and unjustly to good people simply trying to advocate for loved ones without a voice of their own.

And if nothing else, I will make ‘darn’ sure that we shine as much light on this horrendous problem as I possibly can!

THANKS ONCE AGAIN TO ALL OF YOU WHO ARE FOLLOWING AND SUPPORTING US IN OUR ONGOING STRUGGLE—MANY OF YOU WITH US SINCE DAY ONE!

                               ____________________________________________________  

                             ____________________________________________________  

Gentle Penny Gadfly

September 11 at 5:05pm ·

NOTICE TO THE MEDIA – HELP!

I am reaching out to media as friends have suggested because my family and I find ourselves in a terrible situation in which help seems nowhere to be found.

On Monday, 8-21-17, the Exec Director of the nursing home in which my mother resides, with no cause or justification, restricted my visitation making it nearly impossible for me to visit my mother Lynne; that despite I am her son and Health Care Proxy; that after raising serious concerns about my mother’s care and filing reports with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health; making it clear the restrictions were imposed in retaliation and as an attempt to frighten me and my family enough that would stop making complaints.

Until that day, for nearly six months, and since that day, not only had I NOT had any sort of confrontation or negative exchange with any staff member, resident or resident’s family member, all of my interactions with the nursing home community were extremely positive, so much so that I was invited by staff (including chaplains and activity directors) and welcomed to play piano and accordion (on a volunteer basis) frequently throughout the facility. I played at religious services, birthday parties and gave performances for small groups.

Far from disrupting staff or patient care, staff and patients knew me by name or as the ‘accordion guy’ and constantly asked me to play and sing whenever I came into the building. Staff members, including administrators and including the Exec Director's secretary often sang along and danced with/for residents while I played. It was a beautiful thing and I took it as a great blessing as much for me as for the nursing home community. But everything changed on Tuesday, 8-1-17.

One of the most urgent matters facing us right now is the retaliation since it severely hinders our ability to check-in on our mother. As a direct result of expressing concerns about my mother’s care and then filing complaints to the administration and Department of Public Health, the Exec Director restricted my visitation rights to such an extent that I was forced to stop working full-time. The restrictions imposed limited me to visiting only weekdays from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM. As a public-school teacher, the only way I would be able to visit at all would be if I stopped working, which is what I did. And now along with everything else, I have the financial burden losing my income.

In addition, for the past month, since raising our concerns, and to this day, my family and I have also been retaliated against in various ways by a small, hostile number of staff working on the floor where my mother resides. Those incidents along with others during the past month have lead us to believe my mother Lynne has suffered incidents of retaliation as well.

We have reached out to numerous agencies and have also hired an attorney, but as of yet, the nursing home has not lifted the visiting restrictions.

For the reasons stated above and for other reasons including the neglect and abuse of other residents I have witnessed and reported, in the face of which administrators have turned a blind eye, I am willing and eager to share our story and provide as many details as necessary to shine a light on this situation and help protect my mother Lynne and the other residents I have come to know and love.

Please do not hesitate to contact me.

Also, for more detailed information, please read my previous posts on the Facebook page Gentle Penny Gadfly.

Thank you.

David Morochnick
abesgentlepenny@gmail.com

                             ____________________________________________________  
Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · September 11 at 12:03pm ·

REGARDING LEGAL REPRESENTATION – legal muscle needed!

Beginning 8-21-17, when the Exec Director rejected our concerns and then punished us for raising those concerns by making false accusations against me and my family and restricting my visiting rights, we made a number of calls to law firms asking for help.

Unfortunately, none were interested or even willing to take our case. Why? Because no broken bones; no visible scares; no severe bruises and no medical records containing easy to identify reports of injuries. One could argue I didn’t call enough law firms, but the five or six I did call, including a number of those you see advertising all over the place about defending nursing home abuse victims, all said the same thing: I’m sorry but we can’t help you.

What I took from that (admittedly with some exaggeration) is that unless and until Lynne is beaten, raped or thrown down stairs, getting top legal assistance is impossible. Anything else: bullying, yelling at, denying use of the toilet, denying requests for water, disregarding care plans, intimidation and retaliation against family members, hostility toward residents, etc, you’re on your own: no legal help available; a harsh reality on top of the other harsh realities confronting us during this struggle. And it makes me wonder if this is the reason the small number of CNAs and Exec Director retaliate and turn a blind eye with such impunity and license.

Fortunately, one agency I called referred me to the Essex Bar which provided us with a recommendation of a lawyer who thankfully took our case and has been doing his best to challenge the nursing home first with a Cease and Desist Letter and now, hopefully a law suit seeking an injunction to stop the nursing home from restricting my visitation rights.

Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · September 11 at 11:23am ·

SUGGESTIONS ON GETTING THE MEDIA INVOLVED

Several people have suggested we seek legal representation and take our case to the media. I appreciate any and all suggestions and in good faith to everyone following our struggle and showing support and encouragement, I want to offer an update on those matters.

REGARDING THE MEDIA, as we have never been in a position like this before, we are not really sure how to go about this or whether, as bad as this situation seems to us, media would be interested in covering our struggle given the many worse struggles confronting others throughout the country right now.

However, I would not hesitate to bring our story to the media and would share every detail to any media outlet willing to investigate and report on what my mother Lynne and our family have gone through and our continuing struggle advocating for Lynne.

TO ANYONE READING THIS, IF YOU KNOW A WAY TO GET THIS STORY OUT TO THE MEDIA, PLEASE DO IT. Anyone in the media can contact me at abesgentlepenny@gmail.com

                           ____________________________________________________  

Gentle Penny Gadfly

September 10 at 12:54pm ·

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS FOR THE STORM VICTIMS AND FIRST RESPONDERS

As this horrible hurricane Irma batters our country, I feel a sense of guilt worrying as much as I do about my mother Lynne and the other residents in her nursing home. Thankfully she and the others are high and dry and I don’t have to worry about her being forgotten in the basement of a nursing home with contaminated water up to her waist, as we all saw in Texas with the last Hurricane. Reflecting on the devastation in the south of our country, the old adage, ‘there by the grace of God go I’ or my mother Lynne or anyone of us, cycles through my mind as I’m sure it does most of us who are safe and out of harm’s way.

It’s at times like these our common sense of compassion and mutual understanding emerges like a solemn beacon of the sacred light God has put in all of us, compelling us and moving us forward; not just for the sake of our individual selves, but for the sake of all of Humanity and all the living creatures of the Earth. In crisis, unlike any other time, we share our bond, each of us as a child of God; precious and deserving of all of Gods blessings.

The selfish tendency in me to forget about everyone else and remain stuck in self-pity and pity for my mother Lynne must be resisted, at least for a time, as thoughts and prayers are gravely needed elsewhere.

‘Dear God, while I hold on to my worries and self-pity on a whole host of issues concerning my mother and the other residents in her nursing home, please help me remain constant and true in my commitment to so many others in the world in much greater need and unimaginable peril; especially now when, with our own eyes, we witness the tremendous devastation being visited upon so many in the southern part of our country and other places throughout the world. Amen.’

                             ____________________________________________________  

Gentle Penny Gadfly

September 9 at 12:39pm ·

NURSING HOME RETALIATION AGAINST FAMILIES WHO REPORT ABUSE (1)

Nursing Home Retaliation Against Families Who Report Abuse (1)
By David Morochnick

Imagine for a moment, your mom’s in a nursing home and you witness her being mistreated. You report it to the administration, and then the same mistreatment occurs again the following day which you again report to the administration. Then as the days go by, the mistreatment worsens and staff CNAs working with your mom become hostile to you and your family. You report all of this to the administration, but the hostility continues and the mistreatment worsens.

You and your family meet with administrators up the chain of command until you have no choice but to appeal to the Executive Director. Up till now you’ve held off filing complaints to state agencies because you can’t imagine that no one in the nursing home will not put a stop to the mistreatment and retaliation; that the Exec Director must not have all the information and after you deliver it, (s)he will step in and save the day.

And then you meet with the Exec Director who, without your knowledge, has called in the CEO. So there you are in a meeting with the two most powerful people in the nursing home and you think, finally, something will be done and the mistreatment and retaliation will stop and everything will be alright again.

Then as you sit expecting some relief, to your horror, the Exec Director rejects all of your concerns and instead makes false accusations against you and your family and essentially puts the blame on you. Think about that for a moment. You report mistreatment of your mother by nursing home staff, and the Exec Director blames you for mistreating the staff. You report hostility and intimidation by staff members, and then the Exec Director accuses you of the same. You ask for help and support, the Exec Director punishes you by restricting for visitation rights; as if preventing you from witnessing the mistreatment and abuse will make it go away.

At this point an observer who’s never experienced something similar might ask, “why don’t you just take her out of that nursing home?” Not so easy if you are ordinary, hard working middle class people like us. With limited resources come limited solutions. 1) We haven’t the resources or wherewithal to bring my mother to one of our homes. 2) Six months ago we removed our mother from a much worse nursing home and we feel frightened that any place we bring her might be as bad if not worse. 3) And finally, at the risk of sounding like a true humanitarian, (which I am not), what about the other residents at the nursing home being subjected to the same or worse. Who’s going to stick up for them? And what about other family members who like us find themselves subjected to retaliation simply for advocating for the proper care of a loved one?

                             ____________________________________________________  

 

Gentle Penny Gadfly

September 9 at 1:24pm ·

NURSING HOME RETALIATION AGAINST FAMILIES WHO REPORT ABUSE (2)

Nursing Home Retaliation

Against Families Who Report Abuse (2)
By David Morochnick

Recounting my final appeal to the nursing home Exec Director and his CEO, as I have several times, accounts of analogous situations came to mind of some of the nightmare situations my father recounted of his work as a Social Worker.

Throughout his career working for Massachusetts State Agencies, he came into contact with victims of various types of abuse, including battered women and children; for whom he often had to confront their batterers. One horrifying and NOT uncommon situation he recounted concerned women too frightened to report and bring charges against their abusers. My father explained that these women feared they would not be taken seriously and that their abusers would be allowed to retaliate against them in the future. I remember insisting to my father, ‘surely dad, that’s not the case!;’ to which he replied, ‘I’m afraid it is often just as the women fear.’

But dad, I said, how can this be! And with the youthful, heroic optimism of a teenager believing his father can do anything, I said ‘surely you can do something about this and help these women!’ Looking slightly defeated, he shook his head and explained a shameful scenario he unfortunately saw repeated many times.

Although battered women more often than not received the help, support and protection they needed, my father explained, in many cases, women were blamed by law officials and judges for causing the battering they received; that instead of deserving compassion and help, they, the women somehow brought the abuse upon themselves by something they said or did to ‘upset’ the batterer. My father called these classic cases of BLAMING THE VICTIM.

And so, looking back at the ominous meeting with the Exec Director and CEO of the nursing home, and instead of being helped and supported, being rejected and falsely accused, I think of the horror experienced by these women when, instead of being helped and supported, where sent away to be battered again and suffer whatever punishing retaliation their abuser might have in store for them; a situation I imagine several times more frightening than that confronting us with the nursing home.

                           ____________________________________________________ 
Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · September 13 at 12:52pm ·

VISITING RESTRICTIONS / NO TRESPASSING ORDERS AS CHILLING NURSING HOME RETALIATION TACTICS
By David Morochnick

Imposing unwarranted, unjustified visiting restrictions on family members advocating for loved ones in a nursing home seems criminal to me and nursing home administrators using such intimidation tactics to instill fear ought to be held accountable.

Certainly, no health care facility should ever tolerate disruptive behavior from anyone, including family members. And administrators must be able to protect residents and staff from any unruly person causing disruption and harm. This almost goes without saying. Certainly, anyone truly interfering with the work of staff and the well-being of residents should be spoken to, warned, asked to leave the premises and if they refuse, visiting restrictions or worse should and must be imposed. But in a nursing facility where administrators turn a blind eye to abuse and neglect, imposing visiting restrictions can be used as a tool of intimidation and retaliation and thereby constitute a gross and very damaging abuse of power.

In our case visiting restrictions were imposed when no disruption occurred; no one’s safety and wellbeing was ever called into question. Instead, without warning and for no cause, nursing home administrators acted against a family member’s right to visit a loved one; for which those administrators should be stopped and held accountable; especially, as in our situation, if those actions come in retaliation for filing reports of neglect and mistreatment.

Anyone with any jurisdiction must look at a situation like this, raise questions and take action. Why? Because, in such a situation, rather than guarding the safety and well-being of staff and residents, administrators blatantly do the opposite: retaliating against and intimidating family members and advocates in an effort to frighten and discredit into submission anyone who might try to bring to light neglect and mistreatment of vulnerable people unable to advocate for themselves.

The implications of unjustly acting against a family advocate, especially with false and discrediting accusations has a chilling effect that can only serve to cover-up mistreatment and neglect and frighten family members into ‘shutting up’ and ‘staying quiet.’ And although in our case, we continue to advocate, we are not undaunted. This has been and continues to be an ordeal I would not wish upon anyone! I and my family are truly fearful, not only for my mother’s safety, but I have become fearful of even having any kind of conversation with any staff member for fear of being falsely accused of something the administration might use to further restrict family visitation or even impose a ‘no trespassing order;’ any of which we would have difficulty fighting due to lack of resources.

Also, the restrictions imposed on me are cruel and very damaging. Why? Because, as a public-school teacher of 30 years, my working hours are 7:30 AM – 3:30 PM. And since the administration restricted me to just weekdays from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM, I would be prevented from ever visiting my mother; a fact the administration was well aware when they imposed the visiting restrictions. And now, as a consequence, in order to be able to visit my mother Lynne, I have had to stop working and endure a financial burden from which I do not know whether I will be able to recover.

The fact remains, no one, not me or anyone in my family has ever interfered with the work of staff or in any way compromised the safety and wellbeing of anyone at the nursing home where my mother resides. To prove this, we need just look at some simple and basic facts.

Prior to the nursing home imposing visiting restrictions, no one in my family nor I had ever been spoken to, warned or notified (verbally or in writing) about any instance of inappropriate behavior of any kind; not on the day the administrator imposed visiting restrictions or any day prior. And yet, in the meeting in which the Exec Director imposed the restrictions, he did so citing three incidents on three separate occasions. If such an incident had occurred, why was I never informed; why, was I not spoken to or asked to leave on the days those incidents supposedly occurred; why was I allowed into the nursing home without restriction for two weeks after the first incident supposedly occurred?

Proof of the above emerges clear as day with no need of devolving into any ‘she said, he said,’ hearsay trap. A simple examination of the timeline shows how miserably the Exec Director and CEO, instead of taking responsibility for the neglect and abuse suffered by our mother Lynne, have instead chosen to deflect and support false accusations against our family at the expense of the wellbeing of not only my mother Lynne, but all of the residents of the nursing home as well as their loved ones. For those of you who might be interested, the following is a more detailed summary of what happened.


On August 21, 2017, in a meeting which was supposed to be about the care of our mother Lynne, the nursing home Exec Director charged my sister and me with disrupting the work of the nursing home staff and me in particular of “actions causing numerous staff to be placed in a state of fear for their own safety.” The Exec Director then imposed a punishingly cruel restriction of my visiting rights, despite me being my mother’s son and Health Care Proxy.

FACTS

1. On 8-21-17 Exec Director: a. charged my sister and me with disrupting the work of the nursing home staff and me in particular of actions causing staff to be placed ‘in a state of fear for their own safety.’
b. Cited three separate incidents. c. Restricted my visiting rights.

2. The accusations against me and my sister, and the restrictions to my visiting rights came just days after my sister and I raised serious concerns of neglect, abuse and retaliation against my mother Lynne at the nursing home.

3. Just days AFTER restrictions on my visiting restrictions were imposed, the Dept of Public Health Surveyors came to the nursing home for a three day, yearly inspection.

4. Prior to 8-21-17, neither my sister nor I were ever informed of any such incidents; never spoken to by any administrator or staff member about such incidents; never warned about any behavior that might cause the administration to restrict my visiting rights; this despite several opportunities when, between 8-1-17 and 8-21-17, administrators meet with me and my sister in person and not a thing was mentioned.

5. Prior to 8-21-17, I was never asked to leave the nursing home; begging the question, if on more than three separate occasions I caused numerous staff to be placed ‘in a state of fear for their own safety,’ why was I not only allowed to enter the nursing home, but I was a. Encouraged by staff to perform and sing for residents in various parts of the nursing home (including the locked dementia unit). b. Three days before visiting restrictions were imposed, asked by an activities director to play and sing at a resident’s birthday party. c. Four days after the visiting restrictions were imposed, invited by staff into a resident’s room to play accordion and sing to a resident recovering from a severe stroke.

6. The Exec Dir claimed that the first incident of my supposedly errant behavior occurred 7-31-17, a day records will show, I never entered the nursing home.

7. For five months prior to 8-1-17, my behavior at the nursing home was not only NEVER QUESTIONED, but I had become a frequent and welcomed visitor to all parts of the nursing home to entertain, play accordion and sing for residents and staff.

In conclusion, the Exec Dir handling of our family’s concerns should be troubling on a number of levels to anyone with any care and compassion for the elderly and disabled in our country. The degree to which the Exec Director has not only ‘turned a blind eye’ but aggressively ‘gone after’ me and my family as a punishment for raising concerns about our mother frighten all of us for among other things, the chilling effect it has had on my entire family and our friends and acquaintances, especially those with loved ones residing in nursing homes. Also chilling, the degree of impunity with which we have witnessed hostile staff members conduct themselves, from CNAs to Exec Director, has caused me many sleepless nights and dread, worrying not only about my mother and the many residents I have come to love and care about at the nursing home, but for elderly and disabled residents in other nursing homes throughout the country.

Please feel free to reach out to me for more information or visit the Facebook page I created to document the struggle in which my family and I are currently engaged.

Facebook of David Morochnick: Gentle Penny Gadfly
Email: abesgentlepenny@gmail.com

                           ____________________________________________________  
Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · September 12 at 9:37pm ·

ANOTHER QUESTION ANSWERED ABOUT RESTRICTIONS

A few people have asked about the restrictions imposed on me by the nursing home. To be clear, the restrictions allow me to visit weekdays from 9:00 AM - 4:00PM only, no weekends or holidays. Fortunately, for now, the nursing home did NOT issue a "No Trespassing Order" which often happens to family members in my situation.

But with these restrictions, I was forced to stop working full-time in order to be able to check in on my mother during the day. I am a public-school math teacher and if I had gone back to school, I would not have been able to visit Lynne at all since I normally work from 7:30 AM – 4:00 PM weekdays.

                           ____________________________________________________  
Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · September 12 at 8:30pm ·

THANKS AGAIN TO ALL OF YOU WHO CONTINUE TO WRITE IN AND SHOW YOUR SUPPORT!!!

It means a lot and has been a great comfort especially on days like today when my worries have increased.

I am trying to keep up with individual responses to everyone, but have fallen behind. I will try to catch up in the next few days. In the meantime, I thought I would take the opportunity to answer some questions a number of people have asked.

Q: What is the name of the nursing home and where is it located?
A: As much as I would like to answer that question, I don’t feel it would be wise at this point. I must admit I have dreamed lately of revealing the name and location and even asking people to come join me on the sidewalk in front of the nursing home, carry signs and protest. But I am afraid that might risk the safety and well-being of my mother and possibly other residents.

Q: Some have asked about meeting and join me in planning a strategy in confronting the nursing home administrators and demanding a stop to my visiting restrictions.
A: I might be open to that possibility and if anyone might be serious about that, please feel free to contact me individually at abesgentlepenny@gmail.com

Q: Why don’t you contact the media?
A: I have begun sending out notices to various outlets and have thus far not heard back. If you know of a responsible journalist of an established media outlet willing to investigate and report about our struggle, please have them contact me at: abesgentlepenny@gmail.com

                           ____________________________________________________  
Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · September 12 at 8:06pm ·

Fight for Lynne Update 9-12-17 (1)

SOME DECLINE IN LYNNE’S CONDITION LAST FEW DAYS CAUSING ME TO WORRY

Today has been a particularly tough day. I woke up with a gut feeling that something was not right with my mother Lynne and it stayed with me the entire morning until I was able to get to the nursing home.

When I arrived at 12:20 PM, she was very stressed and looked very ill placed in the wheel chair (leaning to one side with a grimacing face. If you remember the before video or her, that’s pretty much how she looked, except worse. I’m distressed because my sisters and I haven’t seen anything like this in weeks. In fact, as I have written, it is just the opposite. Since 8-21-17, either my sisters or I have gone in every day, (some days twice or three times in one day) and my mother has looked relaxed and even jovial every time. And then starting a few days ago, my sisters and I noticed her mood worsening and her stress level increasing.

The one glimmer of hope and my solace these past three weeks has been the dramatic improvement in Lynne’s condition. After I filed the reports with the Department of Public Health and the Exec Director restricted my visiting rights, my one and vital consolation was that her care improved dramatically. And as her care improved, so did her mood and over-all condition. Although I was not able to visit her in the mornings, evenings or weekends, at least family and friends visiting her could verify how well she was doing.

So now, my sisters and I having seen her deteriorate these past few days, I’m extremely distressed not being able to stop in at different times to check on her. And even more distressing is that the staff all know I am restricted and unable to verify first-hand the quality of her care at off hours.

A good friend will go in and check on her during breakfast tomorrow morning and I will get there by 9:00 AM. Hopefully we will see some improvement.

 
Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · 4 hrs ·

Fight for Lynne Update 9-23-17 (2)

THE WEEKENDS ARE VERY DIFFICULT – WRITING A CONSOLATION – ABESGENTLEPENNY.COM

Thankfully family and friends are pitching in checking on Lynne while the visiting restrictions are in place. But weekends are especially difficult and long without the possibility of checking in on my mother Lynne for myself.

Writing has been a consolation and instead of sitting around moping and feeling sorry for myself (which I still sort of do), I’ve been working on the design of a website dedicated not just to our struggle advocating for Lynne, but to the broader issues and varying horrors others around the country and in Canada are facing. Please check it out! Let me know what you think! Write me with suggestions! Send me stories of others in similar situations:

ABESGENTLEPENNY.COM

Please also consider sending links to news articles, information and resources for me to post on the site.

 
                       ____________________________________________________ 
Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · 5 hrs ·

Fight for Lynne Update 9-23-17 (1)

VISITING RESTRICTIONS EXTENDED ANOTHER MONTH – DEVASTATING TO ALL OF US!!!

I received a very cold email from the Exec Director of the Nursing home informing me my RESTRICTIONS ARE EXTENDED FOR ANOTHER MONTH; of course, NO reasons given. Once again, we are outraged and continue trying to turn the ‘wheels of justice’ as fast as we can.

Believe me we have considered violating the restrictions and just going into the nursing home at restricted times. But this is very scary on several levels:

1) What if I am confronted and asked to leave the building? Do I comply?
2) If I am confronted, could a rouge CNA or administrator make up a false story and accuse me of something I did not do, as they have done in the past?
3) Can and will they have me arrested if I refuse to leave the building?
4) Can and will they charge me for something I did not do?
5) Could they completely restrict my visitation?
6) Could they issue a ‘do not trespass’ order against me?

Any of these possibilities could be devastating to me, my mother Lynne and my entire family!

Our lawyer has said he will be able to file the Claim against the nursing home to take away all visiting restrictions on Monday. So, for now all we can do is hope and pray he does that!

 
                         ____________________________________________________ 
Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · Yesterday at 12:28am ·

Fight for Lynne Update 9-22-17

NEED TO ACT RESPONSIBLY

Many people have written expressing frustration that I have not revealed the name and location of the nursing home in which my mother resides. Please accept my sincere apologies for that. And please try to understand that because of the circumstances I WANT TO ACT RESPONSIBLY. Also consider I am concerned for my the safety of mother and the other residents and I do not want to put them at any further risk by revealing this information before the authorities have acted or a responsible news outlet has chosen to report on it.

                         ____________________________________________________ 
Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · September 20 at 1:26pm ·

9-20-17

ANOTHER DEATH AT THE NURSING HOME YESTERDAY – MAKING FIVE INCIDENTS IN FIVE DAYS

Again, on the same floor as my mother. Counting CXXXXXXX, who was rushed to the hospital Friday morning, and about whom we still have heard nothing, that makes three deaths in 24 hours and five in five days, averaging one per day.

I am still in shock and very, very troubled by this.

But please be assured, I have notified every agency I can think of: Elder Services of Merrimack Valley, Mass Dept of Public Health, Mass Attorney Generals Office, the state Senator Barbara L’Italien’s office in Lawrence and Boston, and every news outlet people have suggested I contact, including Help Me Hank.

If anyone has further suggestions, please post or send me a private message or email me at abesgentlepenny@gmail.com

FOR MORE INFO SEE MY PREVIOUS POSTS

Continued thoughts and prayers appreciated. 😔

David

                         ____________________________________________________ 
Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · September 19 at 9:49am ·

Fight for Lynne Update 9-19-17 (1)

DXXXXXXXXX – RESIDENT WHO LOVES THE IRISH SONGS

Relieved yesterday morning to see my mother Lynne looking relaxed and in good spirits my visit was shorter than usual. Family and friends found her that way throughout the weekend as well.

I saw resident DXXXXXX sitting outside and we spoke a while. She’s a wonderful older lady of Irish descent living on the same floor as Lynne, across the hall; always happy to hear me play and sing the old Irish songs; she especially loves “O Danny Boy.’ Somewhat stronger and more self-reliant than most of the other residents, she still has her difficulties and frustrations; though less so as she is able and willing to self-advocate and most of the time receive what she needs.

One event sticks in my mind when, about two months ago, DXXXXXX was passed over, accidentally or not, and did not receive supper. I remember her coming out of her room several times to alert the staff. But after weighting some time, no meal was brought to her. I remember her coming out a third time with a fair degree of frustration to ask another staff person. And still nothing. Finally, close to 8:00 PM, someone came to her room carrying a sandwich enclosed in a wax paper bag; no tray, no beverage, no sides or condiments.

DXXXXXXXX’s pleasant demeanor and warm smile contributes a great deal to the congeniality amongst the residents living in my mother Lynne’s section of the second floor. Her sharp wit and pleasant disposition makes you feel at ease and like she understands well the dynamics of everyone and everything around her.

We spoke for a while yesterday about the nursing home and recent events. She knew, without my telling her, of the visiting restrictions imposed on me and she asked if I knew about the recent deaths of E2XXXXXX, M2XXXXXX and EXXXXXXX. I said I knew and expressed my sadness. Shaking her head with downtrodden resignation, she said, ‘it doesn’t seem right.’ Raising her hand, she then counted with her fingers listing the names of the three who passed that week end. I felt there was little I could or should say.

I asked her if she had any word of CXXXXXXX. “She’s still in the hospital. She’s got pneumonia,” DXXXXXXX said. She continued, “You know David, it’s frustrating. No one tells you anything. So, we don’t really know anything for sure.” I mentioned the privacy protection issues, to which she acknowledged in agreement. She went on for quite a while after that, critical and indignant about the care at the nursing home. She mentioned her son and how much ‘he hates this place’ and wants her to move to a different nursing home. ‘They’re all the same or worse,’ she said. “At least I’m used to this place and I have some friends here.”

                         ____________________________________________________ 
Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · September 18 at 9:23am ·

OVER-REACTING?

A well-meaning friend contacted me this morning and cautioned me about over-reacting to the recent deaths at the nursing home, saying we can’t be sure of the causes of those deaths and suggesting the possibility of coincidence. He seemed to think I may come off as too alarmist and reactionary. I respect his opinion and have given that some thought.

I know I am psychologically and emotionally exhausted, and I am not sleeping well. I also know that the combination of finding out about the deaths of E2XXXXXX, M2XXXXXX, CXXXXXX and EXXXXXX this weekend, combined with the frustration of being barred from the nursing home and not being able to check in on my mother this weekend has taken its toll. And I know at times like these, under heightened stress and anxiety, anyone can lose clarity of thought and perhaps over react. I hope that’s not the case. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

In the meantime, I can’t help the need to remain diligent in my efforts to continue advocating and calling attention to the facts of the last three days and the months prior.

Also, for those of you who keep instructing me to get my mother out of the nursing home. Please try to understand the difficulty of this and the additional risks to my mother this entails. My mother Lynne has severe dementia and she has lost her ability to move about and take care of herself. Bringing her to one of our homes without the proper nursing care could be harmful to her.

Regarding another nursing home, once again I see this as fraught with risks and potential dangers for my mother. What nursing home can we really trust. The nursing home she resides in now did not have a bad reputation. Some have said it is ‘one of the better nursing homes in Massachusetts.’ Nonetheless, we have once again started exploring any and all options, including moving her. But if and until that happens, what other choice do I have but to continue fighting the visiting restrictions, remain diligent in our advocacy and continue spreading the word?

                         ____________________________________________________ 
Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · September 17 at 9:47pm ·

MORE SAD NEWS – ANOTHER DEATH – HARD TO RECONCILE

THREE DEATHS IN LESS THAN 48 HOURS and another appearing close to death rushed to the hospital; all residents of the same ward of the same floor in the same nursing home were my mother Lynne (who suffered neglect and mistreatment reported to the State three less than a weeks ago) resides.

Sadly, resident EXXXXXX passed away today. For those of you who have been following this page since the beginning, you will remember that EXXXXXX was the sturdy, music loving Italian lady who was fond of hearing me play the accordion and loved making my mother smile and laugh while I played “How Much Is That Doggy In The Window.” She was the one my sister found a month ago in the hall crying and shaking because no one would take her to the toilet though she had been sitting for hours asking. Both my sister and I had seen her on several different occasions, rudely denied simple requests by staff, and treated very unkindly.

And once again, I find this hard to reconcile: in one regular (with mainly well-functioning residents of different ages), small section of the second floor where my mother Lynne (who, as I have written, has suffered numerous incidents of neglect and mistreatment) resides, THREE DEATHS IN LESS THAN 48 HOURS and another appearing close to death rushed to the hospital). And taking into consideration JXXXXXXXXs death just a week ago, that makes FOUR, POSSIBLY FIVE DEATHS WITHIN THE PAST TEN DAYS; all from the same section of the same floor of the nursing home in which Lynne resides.

Tonight, I am sending another round of letters and emails, and tomorrow I will make another round of phone calls because something is wrong here and as far as I can see, NOTHING IS BEING DONE ABOUT IT!

And if I sound a little desperate, it’s only because after reporting to the State, the nursing home restricted my visiting rights. I CANNOT GO TO THE NURSING HOME TO CHECK ON MY MOTHER or anyone else.


I CANNOT GO AND SEE FOR MYSELF THAT SHE IS OK.

If anyone has access to state officials (if you know someone…anyone is the Massachusetts State House) or anyone else who can support my pleas for help, please let them know. Give them my name. Have them email me at abesgentlepenny@gmail.com. Tell them I will give them any information and details they need.

                         ____________________________________________________ 
Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · September 16 at 5:17pm ·

Fight for Lynne Update 9-16-17 (1)

ABUSE AND NEGLECT HAPPENING OVER HERE – PEOPLE DYING – WE’RE REPORTING IT – NO ONE’S DOING ANYTHING !!!!

Sleep alluded me most of the night as my mind fixated on M2XXXXXXX and E2XXXXXXXX deaths yesterday; wondering if CXXXXXXXX, rushed out to the hospital also yesterday, was still alive; remembering JXXXXXXXX, the WWII Vet who died just a week ago; and thinking about poor EXXXXXXXX still in decline from the stroke she had just two weeks ago. All of these residents not only on the same floor, but in the same small section of the floor where my mother resides.

HOW COULD THIS BE, I kept thinking. None of these people were bedridden or close to death. All except for JXXXXXXXXX were active, vital and in good health. And even JXXXXXXXX, though much less active, not more than a month ago energetic and far from death. And of course, I also tossed and turned worrying about my mother Lynne; the punishing visiting restrictions preventing me from stopping by and checking in on her!

And how reluctant some people with whom I speak are to question whether these deaths might have been unnaturally precipitated by neglect or abuse! How quick many are to dismiss such ideas and instead counter reflexively with what appears to me delusional justifications like: ‘well people do die in nursing homes’ or ‘all of those residents are very old’ or ‘I’m sure coincidences like this happen all the time.’ And then I scream in my own head, ‘Wait a minute! That’s two possibly three deaths, in the same section, of the same floor in the span of less than 24 hours!

Three, possibly four in the span of a week. How often does that happen! How can this be accepted without question or investigation?!!! Look what just happened in Florida last week! Look what happened in Texas the week before! How many more have to die or fall ill before the authorities come in and the newspapers/TV stations exciting the public with graphic photos of unspeakable horror that could have easily been prevented if someone had just spoken up!

Adding the proverbial insult to injury, when I explain to some people how frightening this seems in consideration of what the neglect and abuse my sister and I have witnessed, those people look at me and act as if I’m crazy; some even warning me saying, ‘David, be careful who you call and the reports you make. People might think you are crazy.’

And once again I think, ‘HOW CAN THIS BE?!!!’ Reports of older people and the disabled suffering and dying from neglect and abuse are coming in from all over the country. My family and I are witnessing it at my mother’s nursing home. I’m reporting it to every government agency I can think of. And now I have to worry not only about retaliation from the nursing home, having my visiting rights restricted, being accused of things I did not do, I have to worry about people thinking I am crazy.

WHAT’S CRAZY HERE?: ME AND OTHERS LIKE ME REPORTING THESE HORRORS ?!!! NO, I’m sorry, I do not accept that. What’s crazy is the abuse and neglect! What’s crazy is the blissful denial of those who make themselves believe that what happened in Florida and Texas is not happening near them or anywhere else! What’s crazy is the way Directors and Nursing Home owners turn a blind eye to the abuse and neglect; and rather than doing anything about it, the way they develop legal maneuvers and clever policies to protect their behinds and their PROFITS; maneuvers and policies which frighten and intimidate anyone foolish enough to report the abuse and neglect!

AND WHAT’S CRAZY IS CALLING PEOPLE LIKE ME CRAZY! Why? Because it’s a ‘handy-dandy’ denial mechanism for the majority of people in this country to maintain the delusion that everything is OK.

EVERYTHING IS NOT OK!!!

                         ____________________________________________________ 
 
Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · September 15 at 5:57pm ·

Fight For Lynne Update 9-15-17

RECENT TRAGEDY AT NURSING HOME AND APOLOGY

APOLOGY

Many people have written expressing frustration that I have not revealed the name and location of the nursing home in which my mother resides. Please accept my sincere apologies for that. And please try to understand that because of the circumstances and especially the news today, I am frightened for my mother and the other residents and I do not want to put them at any further risk by revealing this information before the authorities have acted or a responsible news outlet has chosen to report on it.

But at the same time be assured that I have notified every government agency possible and I have contacted numerous media outlets. I have also hired a lawyer and filed legal complaints on behalf of my mother and the other residents in the nursing home. I also have family and friends visiting the nursing home every day, several times a day, especially at the times I have been restricted from entering the building.

RECENT TRAGEDY

My concerns were considerably heightened this morning when I learned that TWO RESIDENTS ON MY MOTHER’S FLOOR DIED LAST NIGHT and this morning, and a THIRD WAS RUSHED TO THE HOSPITAL looking near death. This is very disturbing because I know those residents and none were bedridden. All three were active, sharp and in good condition. In the past three days, I’ve seen all of them well and participating with gusto during my sing along sessions.

Friends and family are very worried because of how unusual this is. All three of these residents live in a small section of the second floor of the nursing home, the same section where my mother resides. And all were active and in very good condition.

Be assured that right after discovering this, I made calls to all the agencies and authorities I could think of. I informed the Department of Public Health and I have followed up with emails.

For any of you afraid you might have a loved one at the same nursing home, all you need to do is find out if two residents died this morning on the second floor. If not, you can rest assured that it is not your nursing home I am referring to. That’s the best I can do for now. Other than that, we have sent out the word and sounded the alarm to the best of our ability.

Another update will be posted tomorrow.

In the meantime, thoughts and prayers to the residents who have died and their families, and also to the resident rushed to the hospital this morning.

                         ____________________________________________________ 
Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · September 13 at 9:52pm ·

Fight for Lynne Update 9-13-17

LETTER TO OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MASSACHUSETTS

After today’s devastating news of the tragic eight deaths of elderly residents in Florida and the dozen or so others in critical condition due to power outages, etc., I feel more than ever our fight for my mother Lynne must be a fight for all elderly and disabled in this country suffering neglect and abuse, most of which, unlike what happened in Florida, goes unnoticed and unreported. I shudder at the thought that for every tragedy like today’s and what happened in the Texas nursing home two weeks ago, for every incident that gets reported, how many tens or even hundreds do not.

Below I have pasted a draft of a letter I intend to send to the Mass Attorney General’s Office. I am hoping people following the Gentle Penny Gadfly might read through and offer suggestions or edits before I send it.

To Office of Attorney General of Massachusetts,

For the past month my family and I have been struggling in our advocacy for our mother Lynne, who, along with other residents in the nursing home where she resides, have suffered severe neglect and abuse. In addition, my sister Leana and I have been retaliated against and without just cause or provocation, the Exec Director restricted my visiting rights which would have made it virtually impossible for me to visit my mother if I had not stopped working full-time.

Part of my motivation for writing you at this time is what I and the rest of the country have witnessed today when eight elderly residents of a nursing home perished for no other reason than no one cared enough to check in on them and report their condition to the proper authorities. And this only two weeks after elderly and disabled nursing home residents were found in a basement up to their waist in contaminated flood water. As much as this is an outrage and national disgrace on a very severe and publicized level, what my mother, the residents at the nursing home where she resides and our family have had to endure is equally disgraceful. Why? Because what we are suffering is pervasive, wide spread and lacking the kind of national media coverage afforded the incidents mentioned above.

As you will see below, not only have the residents of the nursing home in which my mother resides had to endure neglect and mistreatment, our family has been intimidated, frightened and retaliated against as punishment for our attempts to bring all of this to light. And it hasn’t stopped to this day.

Adding insult injury, we have filed reports with the Department of Public Health, Department of Health and Human Services and called government agencies INCLUDING YOUR OFFICE only to be turned away or sent around in circles. When I called in to the Department of Public Health for an update several weeks after filing my complaint, the representative with whom I spoke blithely and with an unforgettable callousness asked how long ago I filed the report. I responded, about three weeks ago; to which she responded, “I can’t check on anything now. You have to wait at least another 12 weeks minimum before your case will even be looked at.” I said, “but the situation is very serious.” And she said “well you’re just going to have to wait.”

This is frightening because it makes we wonder if 8 elderly people have to die before anyone will do anything. And experiencing the chilling retaliation committed against us, with absolute impunity, by nursing home staff and administrators, I can’t help wondering if fear of retaliation might have been the reason no one spoke up in Texas and Florida.

Below is a detailed summary of our continuing struggle. As I have already done with the Department of Public Health, I will provide any names, dates and communications you need.

Central in my mind to all of this, apart from the neglect and abuse suffered by my mother and the other nursing home residents, is the lengths to which administrators have gone not only turning a blind eye, but actively supporting the kind of intimidation and retaliation of which anyone in our position, as family advocates, would be frightened and potentially silenced.

PARTIAL SUMMARY
Imposing unwarranted, unjustified visiting restrictions on family members advocating for loved ones in a nursing home seems criminal to me and nursing home administrators using such intimidation tactics to instill fear ought to be held accountable.

Certainly, no health care facility should ever tolerate disruptive behavior from anyone, including family members. And administrators must be able to protect residents and staff from any unruly person causing disruption and harm. This almost goes without saying. Certainly, anyone truly interfering with the work of staff and the well-being of residents should be spoken to, warned, asked to leave the premises and if they refuse, visiting restrictions or worse should and must be imposed. But in a nursing facility where administrators turn a blind eye to abuse and neglect, imposing visiting restrictions can be used as a tool of intimidation and retaliation and thereby constitute a gross and very damaging abuse of power.

In our case visiting restrictions were imposed when no disruption occurred; no one’s safety and wellbeing was ever called into question. Instead, without warning and for no cause, nursing home administrators acted against a family member’s right to visit a loved one; for which those administrators should be stopped and held accountable; especially, as in our situation, if those actions come in retaliation for filing reports of neglect and mistreatment.


Anyone with any jurisdiction must look at a situation like this, raise questions and take action. Why? Because, in such a situation, rather than guarding the safety and well-being of staff and residents, administrators blatantly do the opposite: retaliating against and intimidating family members and advocates in an effort to frighten and discredit into submission anyone who might try to bring to light neglect and mistreatment of vulnerable people unable to advocate for themselves.

The implications of unjustly acting against a family advocate, especially with false and discrediting accusations has a chilling effect that can only serve to cover-up mistreatment and neglect and frighten family members into ‘shutting up’ and ‘staying quiet.’ And although in our case, we continue to advocate, we are not undaunted. This has been and continues to be an ordeal I would not wish upon anyone! I and my family are truly fearful, not only for my mother’s safety, but I have become fearful of even having any kind of conversation with any staff member for fear of being falsely accused of something the administration might use to further restrict family visitation or even impose a ‘no trespassing order;’ any of which we would have difficulty fighting due to lack of resources.

Also, the restrictions imposed on me are cruel and very damaging. Why? Because, as a public-school teacher of 30 years, my working hours are 7:30 AM – 3:30 PM. And since the administration restricted me to just weekdays from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM, I would be prevented from ever visiting my mother; a fact the administration was well aware when they imposed the visiting restrictions. And now, as a consequence, in order to be able to visit my mother Lynne, I have had to stop working and endure a financial burden from which I do not know whether I will be able to recover.

The fact remains, no one, not me or anyone in my family has ever interfered with the work of staff or in any way compromised the safety and wellbeing of anyone at the nursing home where my mother resides. To prove this, we need just look at some simple and basic facts.
Prior to the nursing home imposing visiting restrictions, no one in my family nor I had ever been spoken to, warned or notified (verbally or in writing) about any instance of inappropriate behavior of any kind; not on the day the administrator imposed visiting restrictions or any day prior. And yet, in the meeting in which the Exec Director imposed the restrictions, he did so citing three incidents on three separate occasions. If such an incident had occurred, why was I never informed; why, was I not spoken to or asked to leave on the days those incidents supposedly occurred; why was I allowed into the nursing home without restriction for two weeks after the first incident supposedly occurred?


Proof of the above emerges clear as day with no need of devolving into any ‘she said, he said,’ hearsay trap. A simple examination of the timeline shows how miserably the Exec Director and CEO, instead of taking responsibility for the neglect and abuse suffered by our mother Lynne, have instead chosen to deflect and support false accusations against our family at the expense of the wellbeing of not only my mother Lynne, but all of the residents of the nursing home as well as their loved ones. For those of you who might be interested, the following is a more detailed summary of what happened.

On August 21, 2017, in a meeting which was supposed to be about the care of our mother Lynne, the nursing home Exec Director charged my sister and me with disrupting the work of the nursing home staff and me in particular of “actions causing numerous staff to be placed in a state of fear for their own safety.” The Exec Director then imposed a punishingly cruel restriction of my visiting rights, despite me being my mother’s son and Health Care Proxy.

FACTS
1. On 8-21-17 Exec Director:

 

a. charged my sister and me with disrupting the work of the nursing home staff and me in particular of actions causing staff to be placed ‘in a state of fear for their own safety.’


b. Cited three separate incidents. c. Restricted my visiting rights.

2. The accusations against me and my sister, and the restrictions to my visiting rights came just days after my sister and I raised serious concerns of neglect, abuse and retaliation against my mother Lynne at the nursing home.

3. Just days AFTER restrictions on my visiting restrictions were imposed, the Dept of Public Health Surveyors came to the nursing home for a three day, yearly inspection.

4. Prior to 8-21-17, neither my sister nor I were ever informed of any such incidents; never spoken to by any administrator or staff member about such incidents; never warned about any behavior that might cause the administration to restrict my visiting rights; this despite several opportunities when, between 8-1-17 and 8-21-17, administrators meet with me and my sister in person and not a thing was mentioned.

5. Prior to 8-21-17, I was never asked to leave the nursing home; begging the question, if on more than three separate occasions I caused numerous staff to be placed ‘in a state of fear for their own safety,’ why was I not only allowed to enter the nursing home, but I was a. Encouraged by staff to perform and sing for residents in various parts of the nursing home (including the locked dementia unit). b. Three days before visiting restrictions were imposed, asked by an activities director to play and sing at a resident’s birthday party. c. Four days after the visiting restrictions were imposed, invited by staff into a resident’s room to play accordion and sing to a resident recovering from a severe stroke.

6. The Exec Dir claimed that the first incident of my supposedly errant behavior occurred 7-31-17, a day records will show, I never entered the nursing home.

7. For five months prior to 8-1-17, my behavior at the nursing home was not only NEVER QUESTIONED, but I had become a frequent and welcomed visitor to all parts of the nursing home to entertain, play accordion and sing for residents and staff.

In conclusion, the Exec Dir handling of our family’s concerns should be troubling on a number of levels to anyone with any care and compassion for the elderly and disabled in our country. The degree to which the Exec Director has not only ‘turned a blind eye’ but aggressively ‘gone after’ me and my family as a punishment for raising concerns about our mother frightens all of us for among other things, the chilling effect it has had on my entire family and our friends and acquaintances, especially those with loved ones residing in nursing homes. Also chilling, the degree of impunity with which we have witnessed hostile staff members conduct themselves, from CNAs to Exec Director, has caused me many sleepless nights and dread, worrying not only about my mother and the many residents I have come to love and care about at the nursing home, but for elderly and disabled residents in other nursing homes throughout the country.

NOTICE
ALL NAMES USED IN THIS WEBSITE ARE FICTITIOUS
EXCEPT MY NAME AND MY MOTHER LYNNE

Gentle Penny Gadfly

9 mins ·

Fight for Lynne Update 10-10-17

SUING AND LITIGATING A NURSING HOME IS ROUGH – BIG PICTURE – FIGHTING FOR LYNNE IS FIGHTING FOR ALL VULNERABLE ELDERLY ALZHEIMER PATIENTS IN SIMILAR SITUATIONS

Our Law Suit against the nursing home in which my mother resides has become brutally difficult and emotionally draining. Never in a million years would I have ever imagined finding myself and my family thrown into what can aptly be described as a David vs. Goliath battle. It’s rough; especially at this point when false accusations against me are being filed with the court.

Since 8-21-17 almost three weeks after we first discovered and reported the severe neglect and mistreatment of our mother Lynne, administrators began a campaign of ‘deflection’ by making false accusations against me and my sister, which the Executive Director used as a false pretense for imposing a punishing set of visiting restrictions, causing me to abandon full-time employment as a public-school teacher. All of this has been very damaging in many ways both emotionally and financially.

But now that documents with false statements are being submitted to the Court, it is getting scarier for me and my family than I ever imagined it would. A very small number of the nursing home employees (and importantly, THE FEW EMPLOYEES EITHER DIRECTLY INVOLVED IN OR RESPONSIBLE FOR THE NEGLECT AND MISTREATMENT WE HAVE REPORTED; in other words, the few nursing home employees most a risk of professional reprimand or punishment) have submitted such documents.

Now the question many well-intentioned friends and associates are stating/asking me: although what they are saying about you is untrue, it could still be very damaging to you. Maybe you should drop the Law Suit. The following is my reply:

1. One cannot ‘un-see’ severe neglect and mistreatment of one’s own mother. It is not possible. And if I don’t continue fighting, what has happened to her could happen again or worse.

2. I admit, my family and I are actively looking for alternatives to her remaining in this nursing home. But this is not easy.
a. The one she is in is considered ‘one of the best in Massachusetts.’ How can we be sure that the next
nursing home will be any better?
b. Due to lack of resources and my mother Lynne being on Medicaid, we are very limited in our choice of nursing homes (out-of-pocket pay being impossible to consider)
c. This is the second nursing home we have tried, and the first was just as bad, though for different reasons.
d. Having her reside in one of our homes presents its own set of circumstances and challenges, especially regarding the quality and amount of care she will be eligible to receive living in a private house rather than a nursing facility.

3. THE BIG PICTURE 1: Throughout this ordeal, thousands of people from around the country and some from
other parts of the world have read and in many cases posted and written to me about situations similar to ours: where elder or disabled family member has been neglected and mistreated. Many have written about how they too, when advocating for a loved-one, were retaliated against by nursing home administrators as we have in are advocacy for our mother Lynne.

4. THE BIG PICTURE 2: Look at the news! Look at what happened in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. Look on the website I created abesgentlepenny.com !! Look on the internet and see just how much neglect and abuse of elder and disabled people has become an epidemic in our country!! A moral and just society cannot turn a blind eye to what any one with half a brain and a conscious can see. At the risk of using what may be considered overly charged language, based on what I have seen first hand, and what has been reported to me and in news outlets around the USA, what is happening to our elderly and disabled amounts to a kind of ‘TORTURE’ all people of goodwill must recon with and try to address in any peaceful, law abiding way possible.

5. THE BIG PICTURE 3: Of all the marginalized and mistreated groups in our society, it is arguably the elderly and especially those with Alzheimer’s, least able to self advocate. With few exceptions, all other groups are either better equipped to self-advocate or have others who will advocate for them. And I believe there is a reason for this. None of us, me included (until I had to face this with my Aunt Jeanne and later with my mother Lynne), none of us can easily relate to or identify with an elderly person with Alzheimer’s for the simple reason we have never been in a position even remotely similar to such a person. Whereas many people have suffered spousal or child abuse; racial, sexual, gender discrimination, etc., and lived to tell about it and advocate for others, the same cannot be said for elderly people with Alzheimer’s. NO ONE GETS ELDER ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AND LIVES TO TELL ABOUT IT. And because of this effective advocacy in nearly none existent.

None of us, myself included, want to spend even one second thinking about being elderly and/or senile. If fact, most of us I’m afraid to say, my self included, rush around through live purposely avoiding the idea or anyone or anything associated with it. But as difficult as this may be, PLEASE STOP AND THINK FOR A MOMENT: CAN WE REALLY STAND BY AND ALLOW THIS TO CONTINUE!!!

PLEASE VISIT AND LEAVE COMMENTS AT
ABESGENTLEPENNY.COM

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · 12 hrs · 

Fight for Lynne Update 10-8-17

OUR MOTHER LYNNE IS WELL – LAW SUIT IS BRUTAL – OFFER BY NURSING HOME TO LIFT ALL VISITING RESTRICTIONS ON TABLE

First of all, my apologies for the long pause in my posts. My family and I have never filed a law suit and it has taken a great toll on all of us. It is taking a great deal of time; costing a great deal of money; and causing never-ending heartache.

But I believe we finally have traction and happily, thanks in great measure to the excellent lawyering of our attorney, the nursing home has put an offer on the table to lift all visiting restrictions in exchange for dropping our law suit. Although we are happy about this, we are still struggling with the terms of our agreement – especially regarding Lynne’s care and Care Plan.

Nonetheless, we are hopeful that an agreement can be reached and we can all look forward to better days.

My one and most important consolation through all of this is the vast improvement in our mother Lynne’s care since we first raised our concerns back in 8-1-17. She is doing very well. And despite all that has happened and as I have mentioned in previous posts, I still believe the vast majority of the nursing home health care staff truly want to do the very best they can in the care they provide. And most are good and compassionate people.

For continued updates and more information please visit abesgentlepenny.com

REMINDER: All the names used in all my posts about Lynne’s nursing home are fictitious with the exception of my name and my mother Lynne.

                           ____________________________________________________ 
Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · 6 mins ·

Fight for Lynne Update 9-26-17 (2)

UNDETERED BY VISITING RESTRICTIONS AND VIGILANT AS EVER

For those of you continuing to follow our family’s struggle protecting our mother Lynne from nursing home neglect and abuse, some updates.

1. My family and I remain undeterred and vigilant in advocating for Lynne and the other nursing home residents.

2. Our lawyer expects to have a preliminary judgement by tomorrow afternoon on our Civil Suit asking for an Injunction against the nursing home; demanding a full lifting of the retaliatory visiting restrictions imposed on me.

3. The Department of Public Health of Massachusetts has acknowledged in writing our complaint and confirmed an investigation has been initiated.

For anyone just learning about this, all of my prior posts are available in the Post Updates section of the website https://www.abesgentlepenny.com/

Our struggle advocating for Lynne has led me to discover the egregiously pervasive nature of mistreatment and neglect of nursing home residents throughout the USA and in other countries like Canada and the UK. For that reason I have expanded my outlook and have begun accumulating information, news articles and resources concerning this issue.

PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF WOULD LIKE TO SHARE A STORY OR OTHER INFORMATION

USEFUL TO OTHERS.

VISIT https://www.abesgentlepenny.com/

WRITE A COMMENT IN THE COMMENTS SECTION

WRITE ME DIRECTLY AT abesgentlepenny@gmail.com

 
 
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Gentle Penny Gadfly

Published by David Morochnick · 35 mins ·

Fight for Lynne Update 9-26-17 (1)

UPDATE ON RESIDENT CXXXXXXXXX

I am happy and relieved to report that CXXXXXXXX returned to the nursing home yesterday, and thankfully did NOT pass away.

As I reported in prior posts, between 9/15/17 and 9/20/17, four residents in the same section and floor as my mother Lynne died and in that same period another resident, CXXXXXXX, was rushed to the hospital. Well, CXXXXXXXX did finally arrive back, though see looks considerably frailer and is practically unresponsive now as compared to lively and talkative before she was rushed out by ambulance on 9/15/17.

I hope the care she receives improves and she is checked on more frequently now than before she was sent out.