My grandmother moved into Home of the Good Shepherd (HOGS) approximately 4 years ago, to the assisted living side. When she was there, I (and my other family members) felt that this was a well-maintained, safe place, and that she would do well there. On that side, there are frequent activities to engage the residence; I too would stay and play games on Sundays. The nurses and other staff on the floor were friendly and trained me how to change her oxygen tank, since I and my other family members were regularly taking my grandmother out.
When her level of care needed to be increased, she was moved to the enhanced wing. Ironically, for being enhanced this is when there was the beginning to a sharp decline in the care she received, her self-esteem, and her health. The enhanced side had advertised that residence would have a smaller faculty to resident ratio; this was not always apparent. For example, on Mother's Day two years ago, I began calling my grandmother's room in the early afternoon. She did not answer for hours, so I made the drive to HOGS. My grandmother was missing; the staff who assisted me stated that she was doing an activity, but she was not there. We looked for her for approximately a half hour. When my grandmother was found (in a corridor between the two wings of their building), a staff member said, "She likes to wander." Being that HOGS is for the elderly, and that the elderly are more prone to falls and other injuries, wouldn't one want to know where the residence are? Later, my grandmother was transferred to the memory care floor. I understand that the residents on this floor do have more needs and often cannot communicate sufficiently; this should not deny a high level of care to these residents. Often, when I would go visit my grandmother, her oxygen tank would be completely empty, despite having a regulator. Being that oxygen is incredibly necessary for life as well as people with forms of dementia (so brain cells do not become deprived from oxygen), I find that of utmost importance that tanks have oxygen. I would visit her approximately an hour and a half after her regular wake-up time; one could therefore assume that she had been without oxygen for an extended period of time. Since the nurses had trained me before on how to exchange the tanks, I became her tank changer on visits. I had been told by a staff member not to on one occasion and that someone else would do it. I referenced the many times I had visited and her tank had been empty after that point. In another instance, there was a woman sitting alone, so I invited her to our table to enjoy some of my grandmother's birthday cake with us. After eating two slices of cake, this resident mentioned that she shouldn't be eating cake because she typically chokes on food. We were at HOGS for over an hour and did not once see a staff member in the common area where we were. Again, for a floor that claims that they have smaller staff to resident ratios, where are they?
Quickly, my grandmother's memory unraveled. I find it fundamentally worrisome that the individuals who are most able seem to be getting the best quality care, whereas those in enhanced and memory care are thrown more to the wayside. HOGS would call our family to tell us that they had to administer her a band-aid, but neglected to share that she had rapidly been losing weight, allowing doctors that were not hers change her medications/dosages, as well as other larger-scale issues. Ultimately, we decided that HOGS was not a suitable place for her to be, if we wanted her happier, healthier, saner, and safer. Since leaving HOGS, approximately two months ago, she has put weight back on, become somewhat more social, and has received a much better level of care elsewhere.
I do not write this to overtly bash HOGS; some of the staff there are wonderful and do work hard. If you are seeking high-quality care for your loved ones, please deeply evaluate HOGS before making that your choice.