In retrospect of the Register article concerning Golden Age Nursing Home on Jan. 23, 2013, I would like to give some comments. I have visited four patients for several years. Two of them have been on a daily basis. Personal love and care of their patients was always very evident. I have also visited with several of the patient advocates who feel the care of Golden Age is not only sufficient but of high quality.
The problems with the first patient that was mentioned in your article has been addressed and is over. No use of further discussion, as the staff that was deficient has been removed and very capable people have been instated.
My concern is the reporting in your article of Freda King. I was with her every day she was a resident in Golden Age. This was "home" to her and had been planned that way for several years in her mind. She was a very independent person and as far as I have been able to discover, she did not ever push her call button and asking for help was very limited as she did not want to cause extra work for staff.
Freda would go to the bathroom on her own. One night she got out of bed, had a heart attack and fell, breaking a hip. Since her heart was at such a severe risk, she was taken to Mercy in Des Moines. The hip was not immediately fixed because she was at such a high risk because of her heart. It was finally pinned rather than full replacement because of this risk.
Freda was fortunate in that she did not seem to be in pain even at the point of breaking her hip; however, this made it difficult for her to remember that she couldn't get up on it. One night she undressed herself and was in the process of getting out of bed (climbing over) to go to the bathroom. Fortunate, they caught her and took care of the situation.
At this time some of her family (only one blood relative alive, the rest being step-granddaughter and former daughter-in-law) tried to have her placed in Centerville Care Center as she was brought back to Centerville. They would not accept her because she remained at such a high risk. Federal and state inspectors were brought in for one week and could only find one deficiency.
Freda returned to Golden Age from Des Moines Mercy with two pressure sores which were promptly addressed and eventually completely healed. This was definitely a plus as to the care of Golden Age as they gave her a new mattress better for the situation as well as the feet covering to remove pressure from her heel pressure sore.
A few months later another heart attack/broken hip occurred. Again she had to be taken to Des Moines Mercy. Again the hip was pinned. She had a stroke which seemed to affect her throat from that time on, it was difficult for her to swallow and her speech was somewhat slurred. All food from that time on had to be pureed and all liquids thickened. It had been difficult to get her to eat and drink even the first time in Des Moines Mercy.
The difficult eating and drinking continued. When I was by her side, I would try to give her food and liquids often — several times an hour. The staff was good to try to feed her and would come in between meals and try and try. She continued to refuse to consume enough to regulate hydration.
Now it was even more difficult. Even when I was with her eight hours a day and tried to feed her or give her drinks, it was not enough to keep her hydrated. She just would not accept food or drink. "I'm just not hungry" was always her reply.
Naturally when she refused to drink, she became dehydrated which in turn causes the sodium count in the system to spike. In fact, after the second hip surgery Des Moines Mercy would not release her because of the sodium problem; however, no IV was sent to help remedy the situation. It was necessary to keep her for several days before releasing her because of the sodium level
She was taken to Centerville Mercy for care. She definitely did not want resuscitation and that was honored. Amazingly, she was never in pain. She passed away because of heart problems on Nov. 29, 2012.
My thanks goes to Golden Age for their excellent care and concern.