I don’t know about you, but for me, 2016 has at times felt overwhelming. Listening to the news and looking at the world around us, it can be easy to forget that we, as individuals, truly can make things better. In the midst of what may seem like chaos, even a simple action can have a profound effect.
Not long ago, one of our ombudsmen told me about a family he recently helped. Margaret, a resident at the nursing home he serves, has a serious illness. One Friday, Margaret’s daughter Linda spent the night. In the morning, Linda could tell her mother’s condition had worsened. Margaret was very confused and obviously distressed. She had tremors and her body was “jerking all over.”
Linda went to the nurses’ station to get help. A nurse came and gave Margaret pain medicine and oxygen, but the problems persisted. When Linda continued to ask for help, the nurse became rude and abusive, asking, “What more do you want me to do?”
Linda asked the staff to call an ambulance. But they couldn’t reach the doctor and refused to call an ambulance without the doctor’s approval. Distraught, Linda called the ombudsman and asked him what to do. He told her to call 911 and if she got in trouble for calling, he would take responsibility.
When the ambulance arrived at the hospital, medical staff sent Margaret directly to the Intensive Care Unit. They told her family Margaret had a urinary tract infection, a MRSA infection, and that she was anemic. They pulled back the covers and showed the family sores under her arms, between her legs, and around her neck. Her urine was strawberry red and her blood was septic. The doctors administered antibiotics and gave her three bags of blood. If Linda hadn’t called 911, they said, Margaret might not be alive.
This is one of the more dramatic examples, but it reminded me of the vital role our ombudsmen play in protecting long-term care residents’ well-being. And it also reminded me that even a simple act can have a huge impact. Making a phone call. Answering a question. Making a donation.
It costs about $100 a year to provide ombudsman services for a long-term care resident. By donating what you can—whether it’s $10, $100 or $1,000—you can help make sure residents in the Bluegrass district get the help they need, when they need it. Our program’s success relies on the generosity of compassionate people like you!
Director of Fundraising & Administration