I would not recommend The Cottages because of our experience in December 2020. My brother had terminal cancer. He was placed at The Cottages of Madison's Elmwood building for nearly the entire month of December, the last month of his life. Here are some of our worrisome experiences that happened last December.
My interactions with the manager and administrator were confusing, with them answering my concerns a number of times with solutions that actually never materialized. For example, we complained about there being no call buttons. My brother was not mobile, and was bedridden for most of his stay. The plan was for residents to yell for staff. He had nights when help never came all night long, though he would yell loudly and often. In fact, one night he had to sit on the edge of his bed the entire night because no one answered his shouting all night for the help he needed to lie down. The administration said he would get a monitor twice, but one was never placed in his room.
My brother said there were staff that were mean to him. The staff bickered loudly among themselves. The bickering and swearing was so loud I could hear it in the background of phone calls with my brother. It was disturbing.
In Dec. 2020, there were no activities at all, nor an activities director.
Most alarming were mistakes and neglect when administering medicine. One day, as my brother was deteriorating, an aid judged he could not swallow his pills anymore, so that aid just skipped administering two doses in a row of all my brother's meds (that means at least 8 hours when dozens of medicines were simply skipped.) Even worse, our family and my brother's physician were not notified. I only learned about the missed meds afterwards. I immediately expressed my alarm, but the aid and manager claimed there had been no orders to crush medicine. I looked into it -- I discovered that there had always been orders to crush his medicine if necessary, from the day he arrived. Twice my brother went to the ER because of medicine not administered while in the care of this facility.
My husband and I were told that, because of COVID, residents could only have window visits. On our Christmas visit, for which we'd called ahead for an appointment, the kind staff member on duty went to a lot of trouble, getting my brother to the window, using a lift, dressing him etc. This took 45 min. while we waited outside. We thanked her and didn't complain but she volunteered that the delay was due to her being the only staff member on duty for the entire building (the Elmwood building usually had many aids per shift).
Privacy locks on patient's doors had been turned around so patients could be locked in their rooms. When challenged on this, the manager said she thought it was an allowable"form of restraint".
I am sad my brother had to spend his last days in such a chaotic sometimes dangerous facility. I recommend staying away from this facility at least until county inspections find that The Cottages are meeting the minimum standards. (note: reports and citations on residential care facilities in Dane County are public records you can view as part of your research when making choices for care)
I am sincerely sorry for the experience you brother, and in turn you, had in December of 2020.
Since December of 2020 we have made significant changes at Cottages of Madison (of which you can review our latest state visit with no citations). Our management teams is new since December of 2020 and they have done some pretty amazing things in their time there.
Some of the things that we have implemented since then are:
1. A pendant call system where all residents do is press a button and it alerts staff that the resident needs assistance.
2. An activities coordinator at all three of our buildings that execute activities from arts and crafts, to chair exercises, to "sports" games.
3. We have a RN nurse on our staff as well as of February to look over any and all medication adjustments. However, in the case of your brother as his diagnosis was terminal, medication orders come through the hospice teams of the families choosing. We, as a facility, can make recommendations on hospice providers but ultimately that is chosen by the family.
4. A minimum of two care staff per building to assist residents in a positive manner - even when loved ones have challenging and bad days.
4. All of our residents have keys to their rooms which they sign for at the time of admission