Nursing home head takes on theft, care

Luling Living Center had 13 complaints in ‘05, but only 6 in ‘07

April 16, 2008 at 10:44 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Nursing home head takes on theft, care
The Luling Living Center, a nursing home that provides care to elderly and disenfranchised residents in the community, has been plagued with complaints and a bad reputation for years. But new owners are trying to change the center's image.

Under the new ownership, the company has still been plagued by complaints, but the number of complaints have declined by more than 50 percent since 2005. 

According to records obtained from the Louisiana Nursing Home Registry and Information Internet site, in 2005 the center had 13 patient care violations. In 2006, the center dropped to 12 violations. In 2007 the center had its largest reduction of complaints dropping to six violations.

Michael Guillera, administrator of the center for the last four years, has continued to use the team approach to medical care to improve the quality of life at the center.
"The most common concern residents have is about missing clothing." Guillera said. "At the facility we evaluate and investigate each incident."

Guillera advises all family members to label their loved ones items with a permanent marker.
"Every single item you bring into the facility should be labeled and marked on an inventory sheet," he said. "After time and repeated washing the labeled clothing eventually wears off, but make sure to remark items periodically just to be on the safe side."

Guillera says communication is the key. "If a patient falls, and sometimes things like this do and can happen, the family is notified immediately," he said.
 "My mother lived in a nursing home," he said. "So I've been on both sides of the issue. I understand the role of family members and I also understand the role of healthcare providers."

Guillera says not all family members come to visit their loved ones, but he recommends that families stay involved and stay vocal when it comes to taking care of  family members living in the home.
"We started a family support meeting last month to address any issues the family may have with the staff at the center, and we continue to strive to make improvements," he said.

The next family support meeting will be held the 28 of April at 7:00 p.m., at the center.
Guillera says he expects to see things continue to improve.
Guillera says working with the facilitiy administrators, doctors and nursing staff is key. "That's the only way to work as a team so that the experience of living at the center will be positive for the entire family."

Most families come to the realization that their loved one will have to remain in this setting for the remainder of their lives unless other care-provider options are open for them. The newly formed family support group was created to help alleviate fears and concerns of family members after they've placed their loved ones in the facility's care.

"Nursing homes are not just for the elderly," Guillera said. "Nursing homes are for anyone who can't properly take care of themselves medically and whose families are not able to meet their medical needs.
Guillera, says it is important for families to sit down with potential nursing home staff to understand the roles of the nursing home.

Michael Guillera advises relatives  to "educate yourself about where you're bringing your family member," he said. "But more importantly, make certain that you have realistic expectations."
Guillera says no one ever plans on placing a loved one into a nursing home, but the nursing home provides a necessary service.  Nursing homes provide group care and not the one on one care that they may be giving their loved ones at home, he stressed.

The average stay of a resident at the center is three years.
Federal Regulations do not require state inspectors or the nursing homes to notify residents and their families that a resident's care has been the subject of a survey violation.
Even a finding of substandard care or actual harm does not require notification, so relatives should ask the nursing home and the attending physician what  their policy is regarding notification. Reports/corrections/complaints may be available. Ask the nursing home administrator.

View other articles written Shonna Riggs

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