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My friend's experience placing a loved one in a nursing home

A conversation with my friend…

I recently had the opportunity to speak with my friend, Michael, who has been helping his grandma with important care decisions for treating her injury. The following is a brief account of her story and Michael’s experience that some of you might relate to.

Michael’s grandma is age 92 living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She enjoys taking an occasional walk in a nearby park for some fresh air and the sun. During one of her walks, she accidentally fell on her back and was left immobile. She called for help and was taken immediately to the emergency room for care. The emergency room physician found his grandma to have a severe bone fracture and admitted her to the hospital for surgery and nursing care. This was extremely stressful for Michael and his family who were at work at the time.

Thankfully the surgery went well and his grandma began her short stay in the hospital. Michael recounted that about three days into the inpatient stay, grandma’s attending physician stopped by during his rounds and told Michael’s family that she is now stable but will require additional rehabilitative care so they should starting thinking about a nursing home. Michael and his family were then handed a piece of paper, listing nearby nursing homes, from a case manager. They were lost and clueless on where to begin.

Michael and his family sat down together that evening to determine what they should look for in a nursing home for grandma. After a long discussion, they identified that a desirable nursing home should accept Medicare, have a decent environment, and be in a location that is convenient for the family to visit. Since the hospital provided list only contains an address, phone number, and Medicare certification, they relied on friends and extended family for input to help narrow down the choices. Even with a select list of facilities, Michael felt that having to take time off work to call, schedule, and visit the nursing homes was a largely inefficient process.

Albeit all the work that Michael and his family put in for having their top choice, the facility informed that no beds were available for grandma. The case managers at the hospital tried to place grandma at other less desirable places that the family declined. It was an extremely frustrating situation for both the family and the hospital. Michael’s grandma’s stay in the hospital was prolonged due to an inability to find a suitable discharge nursing facility.

Same as all of us at Rockfish, Michael strongly believes that there has to be a better way for placing loved ones into nursing homes. We’re working hard to make the nursing home search process less daunting and more efficient. Rockfish enables communication among patients and their families, the hospital, and the nursing homes that would have helped Michael and his family through this painful process.