I just read a lot of fantastic sounding reviews and feel compelled to write about the reality that I see there at Riverside on a regular basis. My mom is there and this is her 3rd facility besides hospitals. I am much more satisfied with Riverside than I was with the previous nursing facility. That one was horrible!
Riverside is in an old county building that reminds me of the asylums shown in the movies. They do their best to decorate it and make it as cheerful as possible with light and bright colors and wall decor but that doesn't exactly hide the ugly brick design. The lights are bright which makes the old style more apparent to the visitor but helps with the mood of the patients.
The activities department go above and beyond to help encourage the patients to experience quality of life.
The staff in general is very caring but despite the stats of high nursing care workers, are overwhelmed and stressed and over-worked. As one of the nurses said to me "one nurse just can't do it all." They try but really can't provide the level of care that they want to and that patients need. For instance, a very common problem in nursing homes and rehab centers is the inability to get the patients to the toilet when needed. The consequence is that a patient is forced to try to hold it, sometimes for hours, literally. Then the patient gets aggravated and takes it out on the aide when they finally arrive. In turn, the aide (stressed out and tired) snaps back at the patient. Patient feels mistreated.
Another common problem is that staff and patients don't understand each other's lingo, so miscommunication is prevalent and a real source of frustration on both sides.
Due to a statewide shortage of nursing staff, many are forced into working overtime when they really don't want to. Guess the effect that has on our dear loved ones?! Add to that they complain of the way they were forced into the overtime, which is demeaning and demoralizing to them, which again can't help but be reflected in the quality of the care they deliver. Also, many of them work through their shifts with their own pain, which they know full well that it is slowly disabling them. This is part of the price of being a caretaker. Plus, the wages for nursing staff in NH are considerably lower than they are in...say MA.
I feel sorry for the patients who neither have an advocate nor can adequately speak up for themselves.
Another issue I have with Riverside is that the left hand doesn't know what the right is doing. This is a real problem when it comes to providing accurate care and in communication with the family.
Also, I must mention that the only people who do have a clue what is going on, leave by 3 pm and you can pretty much forget about getting cooperation after 2:30 because they are preparing to go home for the day. This is not bad for those who can make calls during regular business hours, but adds frustration to the rest of us.
About meds: most facilities, including this one doles out the meds more on their schedule than on the basis of how and when the med is supposed to be taken. An example is meds that should be taken multiple times per day and on an empty stomach. This was always a challenge when my mom lived with me. The standard in facilities is to dole out the med as many times as needed but with no consideration as to whether the patient has eaten or not. If the meds requires food, they will provide applesauce or yogurt along with it. An empty stomach is not a goal. It's no different at Riverside. This goes for meds that should be taken alone too. That only happens if that is the only med assigned for that round. Standardized care, not individual care.
The food quality is said to be deteriorating. Indeed, I have seen the appearance of the food change from what looked and tasted like it came from a decent restaurant to looking like it came from an elementary school cafeteria. Also, I regularly hear that patients don't feel like they get enough time to eat because it takes a half hour to get served and then they only get a half hour before clean-up begins. Older people need extra time to eat and chew their food.
Finally, I must address the serious problem of cleanliness and hygiene. This Is my biggest beef with the facility. It doesn't even come close to expectations. The restrooms are so rarely cleaned that I refuse to use them while visiting - and I have an older, weaker bladder. This goes for the one connected to her room and for the public ones downstairs in the lobby. It's truly disgusting! And not just a rare event.
I am told that the floor mopping is a basic quick wipe with the mop once a week. Every time I have seen the mop bucket out, it is filled with practically black water. Gross!!! Not to mention how unsanitary that is.
The adjoining Hyder Hospice House is much better and feels clean and comfortable.
All in all, I keep my mom there because it seems to be the best place for her considering her health insurance restrictions. I wish we could afford better. I have come to be a big believer in long-term insurance.