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Being involuntarily discharged

October 6, 2010
by Kathleen Mears
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My last blog posting was in early September. A great deal has happened in a short period of time. On August 18, I received an "Involuntary Discharge Letter" from the nursing facility. I was rather shocked to receive the letter since there had been no warning in writing it might be coming. But I had had a couple of outbursts during 2010 that greatly upset the new administrator and the staff.

An outburst occurred while I was getting radiation therapy in late spring. Additionally, I have always been honest and shared with staff what I expected. I wanted good care, and I may have been more strident during cancer treatment. My increased anxiety and fatigue may have changed some aspects of my behavior.

My family and I tried the best we could to get medical answers for this behavior. Several doctors freely admitted that radiation therapy could alter the effects of the medications I took. But the facility did not assist us to find a medical reason for my outbursts.

I had lived in that Southeastern Ohio facility for 14 ½ years and had seen many staff members, administrators, and directors of nursing come and go. I am sure that I had a reputation. I was a resident who expected good care and who had a good mind, a wit, self assurance, and compassion. But my positive image apparently tarnished.

The hearing on my discharge was September 2, and the decision, which was in favor of the facility, arrived on September 13. Since I was scheduled to be discharged on September 22, this left me with limited time to find an attorney to plead my case for an appeal in the county's Common Pleas Court. It also turned out that most of the attorneys there were affiliated with the county prosecutor's office and therefore had a conflict of interest representing me.

I had little time to move myself and the 14 ½ years of my life in a private nursing home room. I looked for another local facility, but no one would take me due to the reasons for my discharge. So with help the things of my life were moved to storage.

I’ve moved to a facility that was recommended by my former facility. It was the only one that would take me under the circumstances and is 70 miles northwest of where I previously lived. I am doing OK. It is a "behavior facility" and as such we have several loud residents. Their behaviors were a bit startling but I have also seen behaviors similar to those at the previous facility.

It has taken me 10 days to get back on the Internet. I am glad I can e-mail friends, write, and keep up with things through my computer, which is my window on the world.

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Comments

Kathleen, best wishes for you as you adjust to your new home! As a MDS coordinator your insights on
long-term care have been valuable and truly appreciated! Take care!

Kathleen,

You are an intelligent, well spoken woman and you have EVERY RIGHT to have an opinion. Regarding your care, your well-being and an active participant in the community.

It is MY OPINION that it was an abomination by your previous facility to discharge you and therefore force you to find a home in a very short period of time. Especially when you are so dependent on other people for your very life force!

Keep advocating for yourself, keep communicating and keep enlightening us with your well-being and progress.

All my best,

Lori

Kathleen, I wish you the best of luck! I truly hope things go well for you. I'm an MDS Coordinator in a Kansas nursing home. I've been enjoying reading your blogs for the past several months and I hope you continue to post!

Kathleen Mears

www.ltlmagazine.com/blog/kathleen-mears

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