I'm POA for my mom and we chose this facility after moving from Bickford, which I recommend highly if your loved one has dementia.
Unconcerned About Medical Needs: First, you pay specifically to have meds dispensed. We pay $24 dollars a day or $744 a month. My mother has Parkinson's and they cannot get her meds on time. They use the excuse that the law allows an hour before and an hour after to administer drugs. My mother’s doctor sent an order saying her medicine needed to be given within 15 minutes of the ordered time and they said they couldn’t accept the doctor’s orders. After explaining to Lana (nurse) and Monica (care manager – I believe) that my mother was getting so stiff that she was having a hard time breathing because her meds were given so inconsistently, they made it clear they don’t care. Lana read from the records how med aids are consistently 30-40 minutes late or early and said she thinks they are “trying.” They said they are not a nursing home and so could not get meds on-time, since nursing homes are by law required to get meds closer to the time prescribed. Bickford did not use that excuse and they were able to get meds to my mother on-time.
No Levels of Care: As mentioned, insisting my mom get good care led to Monica and Lana saying she needed to go to a nursing home if she wanted meds on-time. Brighton Gardens assisted living claims to have levels of care, but this is in practice not the case.
Other Care Issues: Caregivers don't come promptly when you press the call button. I've seen several residents struggling to feed themselves and no one helps them. My mother said someone struggled and finally they had to hire someone outside of the facility to feed one resident. Others simply don’t eat. My mom has no problem feeding herself, but has lost a significant amount of weight at Brighton Gardens. They don’t record the weight-loss, even notice it let alone inform me of it, or even seem to care when I brought up my concern.
Can’t Reach a Care Manager: They boast they have a care manager for every level. Don’t be fooled! Every time I call it takes 15-45 minutes to reach the “care manager,” a nurse, OR their voicemail.
Can’t Reach My Mom on the Phone: My mother lives on the third floor and when her cell phone isn't charged or her home phone isn't working, I call Brighton Gardens to reach her. This is an expected norm for assisted livings to provide this service, particularly assisted livings with “levels of care,” such as Brighton Gardens. It takes up to 45 minutes to reach my mom, because no one carries a “third floor phone.” Until I realized the situation I would call four to six times, which would lead to being disconnected. Eventually someone would find a third floor phone and I could talk to my mother. Now it takes about 15 minutes to get a hold of my mom and two to three calls, because I specifically state that I'll hold as long as it takes to get a third floor phone. This does not work for my busy out-of-state siblings, who have simply quit trying to call when my mother’s phone is not working. The scary part about this is that the reminiscence or dementia group is on the third floor, which means those family members can’t reach their loved ones by phone at all.
Promised to Get Medicaid Beds in Sales Pitch: The sales person said that they didn't currently take Medicaid after a certain number of years of private pay, but that they were going to get Medicaid beds within the space of a year. That has not happened. They will not have Medicaid beds, says Wendy the director. That was found out only after my mom had a tour and decided to move there. In reality, there are four Medicaid beds on the nursing home side.
Forced to Move or Go on Hospice: If you run out of money and there is no room in the nursing home, then residents are told to get on hospice or move out. I’ve witnessed one man move because of this.
Promised Free Wi-Fi, But it Does Not Work: If you think free wi-fi is coming with your room, then think again. It works somewhat on the first floor, but it doesn’t work consistently even there. For my mom who has a printer that requires wi-fi to connect with her laptop, the wi-fi doesn’t work well enough to even print. They said they’d fix the problem and about three days after my mom moved there added some repeaters, but when that didn’t work they ignored the problem. Now we pay for private internet, which is an unexpected expense.
Quality of Food Gone Down: Originally the food was much better than at Bickford. Recently my mom has said that the food is not as lovingly made, because someone was let go. She also says there is a lack of variety as they repeat menu items consistently. This has led to a loss of appetite and weight-loss.
Activities and Residents are a Redeeming Factor: My mother has been afraid to leave Brighton Gardens, because there are a lot of residents able to communicate. This was not the case at Bickford. The activities at Brighton Gardens are fun for my mom. They’ve had painting and wine and other activities that feel like an event. Residents can ask one of several activities coordinators to get a board game going at any given time of the day and one will often sit and play with the group, which is above industry standards. On the other hand, they do tend to have a lot of the typical boring assisted living activities, such as subpar musicians hosting sing-a-longs and Bingo games. They also only have one outing a week and one special outing a month. That is not the norm for many facilities, where they take residents on two outings a month (one is usually shopping). I have been impressed with some of the special outings: Christmas light viewing from a bus, storm chasers baseball game, trip to Lauritzen Gardens, and etc. The big events happen quarterly, other special outings include taking residents out to eat. If there is ever a fee for the outings, then you pay for entrance fees, food, or any other expenses.
I have communicated my concerns and more to specifically the director, Wendy, and others who could address these issues. I’ve filled out surveys where I specified problems. I have concluded this is a money making facility with very little care for their residents past the fun stuff. They have no problem solving abilities; even ones that are simple like having someone carry the third floor phone. I’ve heard from several that Brighton Gardens in Omaha was once a much better facility. I would avoid this place. My mom is currently a resident there, but we are putting our months’ notice in based on the poor level of care.
I have also contacted Martin at the head office about some of the care issues and communication problems. Yesterday I left two voice messages on his phone again. Oddly it takes a minute or so to get connected to Martin’s voicemail when calling the Sunrise headquarters hotline by simply stating I have a complaint, while it takes significantly longer to reach the voicemail of my mother’s specific care manager at Brighton Gardens in Omaha.
We’re sorry to hear that you did not have a positive experience. Please contact us at information (at) sunriseseniorliving (dot) com so we can better understand your concerns. –The Sunrise Team