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"State's here!"

May 19, 2014
by Kathleen Mears
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Staff has been expecting the state surveyors to be at the door any day. They arrived on a Tuesday afternoon. Although no one told me they were here, I could tell by the hushed voices of the staff and the stress on their faces.

In reaction to their presence, the hallways seemed quieter and so did the residents. When I got to the front lobby on my way to breakfast, I saw the survey team and I was surprised there were six surveyors.

When I went through the back dining room, a female surveyor was sitting between it and the main dining room typing away on her laptop. She was facing the dietary window where breakfast was being distributed. As she typed away, I marveled at her focus, and wished I could look over her shoulder to see what she was writing.

The aides were on alert and some of them were quite jumpy. I suggested they just do their jobs and not worry about the surveyors. They told me that was impossible.

As I looked around, I wondered if they would find any deficiencies. When I am up and out at meal times things appear to be running smoothly. However, when I am in my room I have only sounds to give me an idea about what is going on outside my door.

On Wednesday morning there was a tap on the door. I said “Come in,” and a surveyor entered and stood beside me. I suggested to her that my roommate could easily leave and talk with her. So they left the room, and I went back to writing. My roommate returned in about ten minutes, but she would not tell me what they talked about.

The next morning I was surprised that a surveyor knocked on the door before 6:30 am. She asked if she could watch the nurse give me suppositories, I said, "Really?" She said I was not required to have her in my room. But I told her it was all right and she stayed.

She said she would be back later to talk with me. She did not come back, however, and none of the other surveyors asked to talk with me.

The survey was finished on Thursday afternoon. The staff was exhausted and relieved they were gone.

When the assistant director of nursing stopped by later, I told her I was concerned that there were so many surveyors and they seemed to be everywhere. I told her I felt the surveyors were more intrusive with residents this year than in the past. I know being thorough is important, but I feel the surveyors need to remember that this facility is our home.



Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...