Letter: Mom’s nursing home care great; concerns overblown

Jun. 23, 2013 @ 10:50 AM

Editor:

My 92-year-old mother has been at the Fort Sanders Sevier Nursing Home for the last year after a broken hip. Contrary to the impression given in your front page article on the state survey findings, this is a wonderful place with excellent staff and care.

I am a retired RN from Florida who worked for Hospice and spent a lot of time visiting patients in Florida nursing homes. So with a critical eye, I have to say this nursing home is the best.

True, it’s an old building and not the prettiest, but it’s very clean, and what matters to me is the care. There is hardly any turnover in staff and never a shortage of staff. This is a big issue in nursing facilities.

They are all well trained and very kind. They know the patients and their families and vice versa. The relationships with the patients are personalized, and they know the patients’ strengths and weaknesses; ie, when they need to go the restroom, or whether they like ice cream, hate vegetables, can’t hold cup or suck a straw. My mother is never left alone.

You walk in there and the atmosphere is upbeat; workers and patients wave. They may have crafts, singing, bingo in process. Special events like cowboy day last fall were so well done and so much fun. We had special holiday meals with families bringing potluck dishes.

My mother is happy there. The terrific activities director of 12 years, Stephanie, makes sure everyone is encouraged to participate and assists them in wheel chairs and with other devices.

The medical care is outstanding as well. Whenever Mom has an unusual pain or doesn’t feel well, they call me and/or the doctor. They appropriately sent her to the ER for chest pain. I could go on and on with accolades.

This bedrail issue is unfair as these beds have been around for years with no warnings. The staff changed out the beds in real time while the inspectors were there. When dealing with compromised elderly patients, most of whom have some degree of dementia, some things are not as simple as right and wrong.

I prefer the full side rail for my mother, for instance. She can’t remember that she can’t walk and will try to get out of the bed at the bottom opening.

I’m sure this bedrail issue will be resolved, if not already resolved. To me this is making a mountain out of a mole hill. I assure everyone in Sevierville facing the tough decision of placement in a home for their loved one, that this is an excellent place.

Lynbeth Swanson

Sevierville