Doctors & Hospitals sending seniors to nursing homes for profit. Is your mom next?

Raise your hand if you can’t wait to be admitted to a convalescent home someday? For five years I have been asking this question from the stage. And no one has come forward yet.

The fact is that hospitals & doctors are sending patients to nursing homes unnecessarily, and have been for years. Its become the norm. I know, as I am a former hospital CEO.

Were you even advised that your parent or grandparent had a right to go home when they were in the hospital? Or were you just told they were being “transferred” to a nursing home without being given an option? Has it happened to your loved one? Should this be a criminal act? When the patient is your mom the answers become clear.

My mom, bless her heart, has stage seven Alzheimer’s Disease. In my case, being a former hospital CEO, the answers are very clear. How about you? Lets find out.

Hypothetical (or maybe not in some of your cases): Your grandmother or mom is admitted to a hospital and after a few days the doctor or hospital case manager “advises” you that your mom is being “transferred” (not discharged; one word suggest finality and another suggests ‘she is not better yet’) to a ‘rehab facility’ to recover.

Who are you to question the doctor or case manager’s authority? After all, they are the experts.

Who are you to question their authority? After all, they are the experts.

A few days later you are visiting your mom in the “rehab facility” and can’t help but notice the facility is filled with much older, apparently sicker patients, many of whom don’t appear capable of doing any ‘rehab’ and in fact may be completely bed-ridden. Several residents are confused and clearly have Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia as well.

So you ask the therapist who is assisting your mom up and down the set of three stairs, “Some of these folks seem incapable of much physical activity, what type of rehab are they doing?” The therapist responds: “Most of these patients are long term care patients, or custodial as we call them in the industry, and don’t do any daily therapy. They just live here until they die because they are too sick unsafe to go home and live alone.”

“Sounds more like a convalescent home to me than a rehab,” you respond.

“Didn’t the doctor or case manager tell you that your mom was coming to a nursing home?” the therapist asks and continues: “I am surprised that they did not discuss this with you because from what I can see I would have thought your mom would have just gone straight home from the hospital as she was clearly strong enough. She really did not need to come here, but I figured the family insisted she come here.”

Allow me to paraphrase: Your mom was sent to a convalescent home unnecessarily, and potentially against her will (and against your will as well). This is not just a violation of one law, but of two laws. Unfortunately it has become the norm in recent years.

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