I thought Canterbury was one of the nicest nursing home facilities I'd ever been in. However, my family and I have learned that you can't judge a book by it's cover. BEWARE of this place. The total incompetence of the staff, and the collusion hiding behind all of the polite, smiling faces in this place will send you into a state of confusion, and eventually down a path to the realm of madness. Our mother was sent to Canterbury for rehabilitation so she could build up her strength and walk better. So she could return home as soon as possible. Instead these people latched onto her and refused to help her return home. They had the big bucks coming into their pockets, and were not about to give up that cash-flow.
Here’s a list of some of the things we had to deal with and what you can expect to experience:
Going in for a visit and finding our mother in the main family/activities room sitting in a wheelchair in stinking, soiled pants. Looking around to see no nurses or nurse’s aids attending to anyone in the room. Seat alarms going off, residents getting up from their chairs and nobody rushing to their aid. When you’ve got nurse’s aids who are assigned to fifteen or more residents, what can you expect? So what if they’re raking in nearly $7000.00 a month to take care of your loved one - they will tell you the government says that 15 residents per nurse’s aid is sufficient.
Taking in a pizza one Sunday afternoon with several other family members to surprise Mom. And instead we got the surprise. We found her sitting in a wheelchair, head tilted back, eyes staring blankly ahead and mouth wide open. A total Zombie due to a Nurse and/or Doctor’s mistake in prescribing and administering medication, Mom looked like she was in a drug-induced coma. She called out to us, “Help me wake up. Please help me wake up.” This fiasco put my mom into an exhausted state that lasted about a week and a half. And the real kicker is, once she finally regained her strength and was ready to proceed with therapy, we were told the allotted time for her physical therapy had just ended. In other words, “The money is flowing into our hands, and we are NOT giving it up.”
Paying a visit and seeing that our mother’s hair is greasy and her scalp stinks. Asking why they didn’t give her a shower and shampoo her hair on Monday morning or Thursday morning, and being told that she was too tired and refused her shower both Monday and Thursday nights. We tell them, and tell them, and tell them over and over again morning NOT night showers please. They nod their heads, but continue onward doing the same thing.
I bought my mother a beautiful new pair of pajamas, and the next night I stopped by to visit her. While talking with her, the door to the bathroom swings open and a nurse’s aid wheels out her roommate, dressed in Mom’s brand new pajamas. The staff encourages sharing. Sharing each other’s clothes, shoes, and I imagine underpants, too, except for the fact that most of the residents wear disposable underwear - Thank God for that!
Numerous times - and you will find yourself complaining numerous times about each and every problem you will have at Canterbury because they are all inept. Think I’m exaggerating? Step into the mess at this nursing home and you will soon find yourself confused, angry, and finally so exhausted from repeating yourself to them that you will become infuriated. We told them not to put my mother’s roommate’s shoes on her, we showed them mom’s shoes in the closet in front of her bed - yet around and around we went with them. It’s like dealing with a bunch of dumb little kids. The last time I saw my mom wearing her roommate’s shoes, I removed them, took them down the hallway and dropped them onto the seat of a wheelchair. Then we looked for my mom’s shoes. Stylish black leather Reebok shoes that cost $95 with $50 insoles in them. We couldn’t find them. The nurses’ aids searched for them. They couldn’t find them. Turns out my Mom’s shoes were stolen. Most likely by one of the underpaid aids. When I demanded that they reimburse us for the shoes, the Director of Nursing said she did some investigating, and none of the nurses or nurse’s aids had ever seen a black pair of Reebok shoes on my mom or in her room. She wore them all through the little therapy she was given. So now let’s add insult to injury.
My mom is 86, but looks like she’s twenty years younger than that. Last year a clerk in Best Buy guessed her to be 56 or 57 years old. When I told the clerk, “I’m her daughter. And I’m fifty-nine,” her jaw dropped to the floor. When we were kids, people in town called my mom “Liz”. She could’ve moved to Hollywood and became Elizabeth Taylor’s double - she looked so much like her. Yep, Mom looks twenty years younger than she is - well, she did look twenty years younger until Canterbury got their mitts on her. Once again, numerous times I asked them to have my mom’s hair dyed and trimmed. But every time I stopped by, there she was in a wheelchair, with long, stringy, greasy hair - a big section of solid white separated by a bigger section of dark brown - looking like an old hag, a freak. When they finally took care of her hair, they did the exact opposite of my instructions. I told them, not once, but twice - no perm and no hair spray. So the next day I walk in and it’s not my mother sitting in the wheelchair. Not this old lady with a PERM, and hair stiffened with a coat of hair spray. I now believe all the trouble we were put through was a conspiracy, an orchestrated plan to upset, frustrate, and discourage outsiders from visiting residents. Can this be the reason why there is such a lack of visitors to the poor, sad residents at Canterbury Villa? Eventually people just give up, and stay away?
One evening for dinner I discover them serving my mom tuna fish salad for dinner. I tell them she hates fish. They give her the substitute. A hot dog. She loves hot dogs. But couldn’t eat the hot dog they served her. Who could? It was overcooked to the point where the boiled meat had fallen apart and sat in the soggy, wet bun in several different pieces. Soon after that I spent about an hour and a half in a meeting with the social worker and Director of Nursing. I told them about this situation. The Director of Nursing said, “Well, I’ll give you a menu and you can write in what your mother likes to eat. That will solve that problem.” “That would be great,” I said. “Can you please email the menu to me?” “Absolutely.” Well she never did. I emailed her two her three times about the menu and received no reply from her.
I had left that meeting feeling so good, and the very next day everything fell apart to a point where my temper finally erupted. A couple of evenings later I walked into the dining room and found my mother sitting at a table with her roommate. No plates of food in front of them. An aid walked up to me and said, “They’ve both refused their dinner.” “Well what were they served?” I asked. “Tuna fish salad. And the alternative is a hot dog.” Absolute insanity. Would you blow your top or what?!
Doctor’s orders - our mom needs her feet elevated above her heart while sleeping. Yet every time one of us goes in to check on her, she’s in bed, lying in a horizontal position, feet not elevated above her heart. Talk to them until you are blue in the face, a blue that will soon turn purple with rage.
If my mom refuses her pills, the nurses don’t give them to her. Not even her blood pressure pills! I ask, “Can’t you tell her you’ll give her a Pepsi to take with the pills? She loves Pepsi Cola. I believe that will take care of that problem.” But the nurse replies, “No. That’s a bribe, and we’re not allowed to do that.” “Well, can you use child psychology on her? Tell her something like - if you want to get well and go home, then you need to take your pills?” No reply to that one. Just a phony smile.
Go in and help your mom with your own therapy program. Build up her strength. Get her walking yourself. Get her the hell out of there. Push that wheelchair behind her as she walks ahead of you with her walker. Push that wheelchair as you choke and gag from the strong smell of urine on the seat. You’ve asked them how many times to clean the chair? Forget it. They never listen. They NEVER follow instructions. Get her out of there.
It is October 19, 2013. A few days ago I asked a nurse to have a doctor check my mom’s feet again. Her feet, ankles and lower legs have swollen up so badly we need to walk her without shoes on. The nurse says the medication to reduce fluid in the legs should probably be increased. I ask, “What was the date she was initially given the medication?” She replies, “August 24, 2013.” Nearly two months?! Why after two weeks of no improvement wasn’t the medication increased?! Well, I guess it’s all a part of that conspiracy, that secret plan to keep the money rolling in.
The list of complaints goes on and on. My experiences with Canterbury are simply unbelievable. Trust me. Don’t put her or him in there to begin with. God bless you and your family. He’s the only one who can help you, me, and our loved ones. But not even God can give a person the strength they need to deal with the games these people play. So walk away from this place. Run as fast as you can. Better yet, stay away to begin with.
One last complaint. On October 22, 2013 - which was a cold autumn day - my mother was transported to another nursing home/rehab facility here in Alliance. I washed her winter coat that morning, and my brother picked it up and delivered it to Canterbury with specific instructions to make sure she wears it when she leaves. It was 40 degrees outside that afternoon, and she arrived at the other facility (Roselawn) with only a thin red sweater to protect her from the cold. The morons at Canterbury searched for the coat, and found it locked in the Administrator’s office. Can any group of people really be this stupid and inept?! Or was the coat locked in there on purpose?