Twenty-four hours was enough for Deb Holtz at a Minnesota nursing home. The 55-year-old cut short her admission to Langton Place after what she felt were repeated insults to her privacy by staff at the facility. Like many nursing home patients, Holtz was intending on receiving short-term rehabilitation following a shoulder replacement.
What makes Holtz different than your average nursing home patient is that she runs Minnesota’s Ombudsman program for Long-Term Care.
What Holtz experienced during her recent nursing home stay was chronicled by the Star Tribune in a recent article, “Nursing home stay an eye-opened for advocate for elderly”, describing the series of personal offenses during her stay that made her feel particularly vulnerable and dehumanized.
It was a little scary because you are part of a larger system. I didn’t feel like I had control of my environment or possibly my body.
While Ms. Holtz certainly had both the personal skills and the legal knowledge to advocate on her own behalf, the article quickly made me appreciative of how the rights of an elderly or disabled person could be trampled on by facilities soon after their admission.
If there is anything positive to gain from Ms. Holtz’s experience, hopefully her dissatisfaction with the patient experience will catch the attention of nursing home workers and administrators and cause them to reevaluate the way the treat patients.
Ironically, Minnesota’s Ombudsman program for Long-Term Care received 2,500 complaints last year, with nearly half of the complaints centered around alleged violations of patients’ rights at the facility.
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