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institution in KY

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  • holly lu
    dear friends--you will most likely have 2 levels of outrage as you read below: first, at the reminder that there are still thousands of americans with
    Message 1 of 8 , Aug 2, 2006
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      dear friends--you will most likely have 2 levels of outrage as you read below:  first, at the reminder that there are still thousands of americans with disabilities in institutional "care" whose most basic civil rights--life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness--are violated daily; second, at the absolutely chilling letter to the editor posted online at the newspaper site.  The 1st line of the letter seems encouraging—but keep reading, if you can stand it… I’ve checked the website since & am glad to see that it is aflame with other points of view...

      take care, holly lu

      nashville, TN

       

      Information for leaders in The Arc
      From The Arc of the United States Information for leaders in The Arc
      From The Arc of the
      United States

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Sunday, July 30, 2006

       

       

       

      Oakwood's problems daunting
      Official: 'It really cannot be fixed'

      By Deborah Yetter
      dyetter@...
      The Courier-Journal

      Problems at Communities at Oakwood, the state's largest center for adults with mental retardation, might be too deep-rooted and complex to solve, Kentucky's top human resources official said last week.

      "I really thought I could fix Oakwood," said Mark D. Birdwhistell, secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which operates Oakwood. "I'm coming to conclude that it really cannot be fixed."

       

       

      Birdwhistell said he is not planning to close Oakwood, but he is working to relocate as many of its 255 residents as possible to community settings, such as group homes.

      "The one thing that's working is community transition," he said.

      If Oakwood survives, Birdwhistell envisions it as a smaller facility as part of a "continuum of care" including community placements.

      But the threatened cutoff of federal funds -- amid growing reports of abuse and neglect of residents and other problems -- has left Oakwood's future uncertain, he said.

      "I do very seriously feel like the funding is in jeopardy," Birdwhistell said.

      The state has amassed 20 citations in the past 19 months for serious instances of abuse or neglect; criminal charges against 16 employees in the past three years for alleged mistreatment of residents; and chronic staff shortages that exacerbate other problems.

      Hiring woes

      Earlier this year, when Oakwood tried to hire more workers, it ran into an obstacle: About half the initial applicants failed a drug test or criminal background check.

      The rate is improving, officials said, but finding qualified applicants isn't the only problem.

      Many hired at the facility don't stay once they realize the demands of the job, officials and staff members said.

      Turnover is critical because a wave of retirements in the late 1990s stripped the Somerset facility of many experienced workers.

      Further confounding hiring efforts, the pool of potential employees in Somerset, population 12,000, is small for a facility that employs about 1,300 people.

      Outside Somerset, the area is rural and the population sparse, Birdwhistell said.

      And as a result of disciplinary problems at Oakwood, 83 of the 716 "direct care" workers have been assigned to wash laundry instead of caring for residents until their abuse or neglect allegations are resolved.

      Birdwhistell said he believes federal authorities are close to cutting off $40 million a year in Medicaid money that pays most of the cost of operating Oakwood because of problems, including 20 citations since January 2005 from the cabinet's inspector general for abuse or neglect of residents.

      "I don't know why they haven't pulled it already," he said. "My plea to them has been, 'Give me more time.' "

      But some people, including Oakwood workers, are worried time is running out.

      "I just hope things get better pretty soon, that we stay open so I can retire here," said Jana Wilson, 27, who has worked at Oakwood for seven years. "I believe staff morale is the lowest I've ever seen it since I worked here."

      Firing difficult

      Denise Thomas of Louisville said she agrees that dramatic steps are needed to ensure the safety of residents, including her brother, Mark Brown.

      He has been the victim in two alleged abuse cases.

      In one instance, he allegedly was hit and kicked; more recently, four staffers were charged with beating him with a broomstick.

      "Something has to be done," Thomas said. "I'm not saying that it has to be closed, but there are many issues that have to be addressed."

      Three workers charged in the broomstick incident have been placed on 60-day suspensions with pay while the state investigates the allegations; the fourth worker is employed by a private contractor and records don't reflect her status.

      Birdwhistell said restrictions of the state merit system keep the state from firing people on the spot for suspected abuse or neglect. Instead they must be reassigned or placed on paid leave during the investigation.

      "I think you've got to have staff that you can fire at will if they're beating someone with a broom," he said. "At Oakwood, they get sent to the laundry."

      Challenging job

      Taking care of residents is a grueling and sometimes dangerous job, employees say.

      Adult residents -- many with the mental age of infants or toddlers -- can become easily frustrated or angered and might take it out on staff.

      "I've been hit, kicked, slapped -- I've even had a TV thrown at me," said 30-year employee Beth Gholson, who retired Thursday. "When they have a temper tantrum, they don't realize how strong they are."

      Wilson said chronic staff shortages are forcing employees to work double shifts, sometimes two or three days in a row, leaving them stressed, irritable and exhausted.

      On top of that are the several state and federal investigations under way into conditions at Oakwood.

      Thomas, whose brother has lived at Oakwood for three years, said she was "appalled" by staffing at his cottage when she and her sister visited last week. During the two-hour stay, one staff worker spent most of the time using her cell phone and another spent the time calling the office for extra help, she said.

      Staff members didn't seem to know each other or the residents, Thomas said, and two workers who entered the cottage mistook her and her sister for staff.

      "I don't see any improvements," Thomas said. "It's almost like a regression. At least in the past employees knew each other."

      Gholson said she would hate for the state to lose Oakwood, forcing all residents to relocate.

      "It's a great place," she said. "We're about the only family some of these clients have. I've been here 30 years and for some clients, I have never seen their families."

      Though she acknowledges that abuse and neglect have occurred, Gholson said most of the staff members are hard-working people who care deeply about the residents.

      "A lot of the staff feel the same way I do," she said. "We get so tired of the bad publicity in the paper."

      Reporter Deborah Yetter can be reached at (502) 582-4228.


      StoryChat


       

      I think that it is high time that the quality of life of the Oakwood residents is considered. These people are not wanted by their families or they would not be at Oakwood to begin with. I am sure that people will reply that they love their family member at Oakwood but they just can't handle them. Oh but it is so much kinder to hand them over to strangers to be abused at Oakwood.

      These are people who will never drive, hold jobs, fall in love, have children, feed themselves, wipe themselves and the list goes on and on. These are people that do not benefit society in the least. Instead of trying to find other placements for these burdens on society we should consider euthanasia as an option. I personally would not want to live like an animal for my whole life.

      The article mentions a cost to medicaid (that is our tax dollars) of $40 plus million a year just to run Oa kwood. What about the hundreds of other "Oakwoods" around the country? How much to run those? What is the grand total being wasted to warehouse people that cannot positively contribute to the society that is forced to pay for their upkeep?

      Other countries have euthanasia laws and it time for the
      USA to think about adopting a few of their own.

      Posted:
      Sun Jul 30, 2006 9:41 pm


       

       


      --
      No virus found in this outgoing message.
      Checked by AVG Free Edition.
      Version: 7.1.394 / Virus Database: 268.10.5/405 - Release Date: 8/1/2006

    • Ironsides
      Taking care of residents is a grueling and sometimes dangerous job, employees say. Adult residents -- many with the mental age of infants or toddlers -- can
      Message 2 of 8 , Aug 3, 2006
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        Message
        "Taking care of residents is a grueling and sometimes dangerous job, employees say.

        Adult residents -- many with the mental age of infants or toddlers -- can become easily frustrated or angered and might take it out on staff.

        "I've been hit, kicked, slapped -- I've even had a TV thrown at me," said 30-year employee Beth Gholson, who retired Thursday. "When they have a temper tantrum, they don't realize how strong they are." "

        This is not a mental institution, but I definitely relate to the situations at this long-term unit for respiratory patients. Over the past six years, workers could have had it alot easier and better, if they had not started dishing verbal dirt in our faces, and really rotten gang member type behavior.
         
        For years, the head-nurses never really wanted to accept that their "good workers" had a problem. They told me that one patient was sent to another long-term institution, and if your lungs are shot, that isn't what you want, because it was understood that patients who were transferred here, explained that this place was better.
         
        Less than a year ago, things began to improve after plenty of meetings with the head-nurse. The one time a worker did get physical with me, it was the night after the head-nurse asked me to just let him do his job, and not provoke him.--So, I did! But he deliberately came in, and taunted me for about 5 minutes.
         
        Then I just blast the guy at the pitch of my voice to get out of here. I fired away, that administration can keep him and any other dirt-bags on night-shift they want, so they get their extra few dollars, and 2 hours sleep.--But there is one thing patients can do, and that is kick you out of the rooms. He slammed his finger in my face, and I kicked it out of the way. Then he grabbed my boot, and stuck that in my face.
         
        That morning when the head-nurse got here, I slammed her flat-out, and said:
         
        You asked me to just let him do his job, and do nothing to provoke him into anything. After telling her the rest, I told her, the next time any employee of the MUHC takes one move to getting physical with me, anything I do is pure self-defense. If anybody gets in my way, it's not my fault if there is collatoral damage.
         
        They launched a complete internal investigation, and interviewed every employee to screen them out. At least one worker was fired, and his supporters resigned. All I've got to say is good riddance to the trash, and thank God for the rest!
         
        Some workers here had to take a CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) course, and it was what I recommended after I took mine three years ago. At first they laughed about it, until after the events of last October.
        .
        Ironsides
        mobile: 514-585-6265
        http://groups.msn.com/IronsidesWorldHeadquarters/_homepage.msnw?lc=1033
        http://iwhq.501megs.com/
        http://ironsidesworldheadquarters.blogspot.com/
        http://blog.360.yahoo.com/ironsides1st
         
        -----Original Message-----
        From: Bioethics@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Bioethics@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of holly lu
        Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2006 4:33 PM
        To: Bioethics@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [Bioethics] institution in KY

        dear friends--you will most likely have 2 levels of outrage as you read below:  first, at the reminder that there are still thousands of americans with disabilities in institutional "care" whose most basic civil rights--life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness--are violated daily; second, at the absolutely chilling letter to the editor posted online at the newspaper site.  The 1st line of the letter seems encouraging—but keep reading, if you can stand it… I’ve checked the website since & am glad to see that it is aflame with other points of view...

        take care, holly lu

        nashville, TN

         

        Information for leaders in The Arc
        From The Arc of the United States Information for leaders in The Arc
        From The Arc of the
        United States

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

        Sunday, July 30, 2006

         

         

         

        Oakwood's problems daunting
        Official: 'It really cannot be fixed'

        By Deborah Yetter
        dyetter@...
        The Courier-Journal

        Problems at Communities at Oakwood, the state's largest center for adults with mental retardation, might be too deep-rooted and complex to solve, Kentucky's top human resources official said last week.

        "I really thought I could fix Oakwood," said Mark D. Birdwhistell, secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which operates Oakwood. "I'm coming to conclude that it really cannot be fixed."

         

         

        Birdwhistell said he is not planning to close Oakwood, but he is working to relocate as many of its 255 residents as possible to community settings, such as group homes.

        "The one thing that's working is community transition," he said.

        If Oakwood survives, Birdwhistell envisions it as a smaller facility as part of a "continuum of care" including community placements.

        But the threatened cutoff of federal funds -- amid growing reports of abuse and neglect of residents and other problems -- has left Oakwood's future uncertain, he said.

        "I do very seriously feel like the funding is in jeopardy," Birdwhistell said.

        The state has amassed 20 citations in the past 19 months for serious instances of abuse or neglect; criminal charges against 16 employees in the past three years for alleged mistreatment of residents; and chronic staff shortages that exacerbate other problems.

        Hiring woes

        Earlier this year, when Oakwood tried to hire more workers, it ran into an obstacle: About half the initial applicants failed a drug test or criminal background check.

        The rate is improving, officials said, but finding qualified applicants isn't the only problem.

        Many hired at the facility don't stay once they realize the demands of the job, officials and staff members said.

        Turnover is critical because a wave of retirements in the late 1990s stripped the Somerset facility of many experienced workers.

        Further confounding hiring efforts, the pool of potential employees in Somerset, population 12,000, is small for a facility that employs about 1,300 people.

        Outside Somerset, the area is rural and the population sparse, Birdwhistell said.

        And as a result of disciplinary problems at Oakwood, 83 of the 716 "direct care" workers have been assigned to wash laundry instead of caring for residents until their abuse or neglect allegations are resolved.

        Birdwhistell said he believes federal authorities are close to cutting off $40 million a year in Medicaid money that pays most of the cost of operating Oakwood because of problems, including 20 citations since January 2005 from the cabinet's inspector general for abuse or neglect of residents.

        "I don't know why they haven't pulled it already," he said. "My plea to them has been, 'Give me more time.' "

        But some people, including Oakwood workers, are worried time is running out.

        "I just hope things get better pretty soon, that we stay open so I can retire here," said Jana Wilson, 27, who has worked at Oakwood for seven years. "I believe staff morale is the lowest I've ever seen it since I worked here."

        Firing difficult

        Denise Thomas of Louisville said she agrees that dramatic steps are needed to ensure the safety of residents, including her brother, Mark Brown.

        He has been the victim in two alleged abuse cases.

        In one instance, he allegedly was hit and kicked; more recently, four staffers were charged with beating him with a broomstick.

        "Something has to be done," Thomas said. "I'm not saying that it has to be closed, but there are many issues that have to be addressed."

        Three workers charged in the broomstick incident have been placed on 60-day suspensions with pay while the state investigates the allegations; the fourth worker is employed by a private contractor and records don't reflect her status.

        Birdwhistell said restrictions of the state merit system keep the state from firing people on the spot for suspected abuse or neglect. Instead they must be reassigned or placed on paid leave during the investigation.

        "I think you've got to have staff that you can fire at will if they're beating someone with a broom," he said. "At Oakwood, they get sent to the laundry."

        Challenging job

        Taking care of residents is a grueling and sometimes dangerous job, employees say.

        Adult residents -- many with the mental age of infants or toddlers -- can become easily frustrated or angered and might take it out on staff.

        "I've been hit, kicked, slapped -- I've even had a TV thrown at me," said 30-year employee Beth Gholson, who retired Thursday. "When they have a temper tantrum, they don't realize how strong they are."

        Wilson said chronic staff shortages are forcing employees to work double shifts, sometimes two or three days in a row, leaving them stressed, irritable and exhausted.

        On top of that are the several state and federal investigations under way into conditions at Oakwood.

        Thomas, whose brother has lived at Oakwood for three years, said she was "appalled" by staffing at his cottage when she and her sister visited last week. During the two-hour stay, one staff worker spent most of the time using her cell phone and another spent the time calling the office for extra help, she said.

        Staff members didn't seem to know each other or the residents, Thomas said, and two workers who entered the cottage mistook her and her sister for staff.

        "I don't see any improvements," Thomas said. "It's almost like a regression. At least in the past employees knew each other."

        Gholson said she would hate for the state to lose Oakwood, forcing all residents to relocate.

        "It's a great place," she said. "We're about the only family some of these clients have. I've been here 30 years and for some clients, I have never seen their families."

        Though she acknowledges that abuse and neglect have occurred, Gholson said most of the staff members are hard-working people who care deeply about the residents.

        "A lot of the staff feel the same way I do," she said. "We get so tired of the bad publicity in the paper."

        Reporter Deborah Yetter can be reached at (502) 582-4228.


        StoryChat


      • Sadler Karen
        Ironsides, Good for you for getting this guy fired, and making the rest leave. I get tired of hearing their side of the story, but too often those in care
        Message 3 of 8 , Aug 4, 2006
        • 0 Attachment
          Ironsides,

          Good for you for getting this guy fired, and making the rest leave. I get
          tired of 'hearing' their side of the story, but too often those in care
          situations like this are unable to make their 'side of the story' known; and
          we would be horrified if they did. These places pay less than minimum wage
          with little benefits, and anyone can get the job, then they wonder why they
          get t he scum of the earth to work for them. These people are just predators
          looking for an easy way to get away with the same bully behavior that worked
          for them in grade school, but is not acceptable in society at other levels.
          Hence, they cannot find better jobs. This is partly society's fault. We must
          find a way to pay our caretakers and social workers, our teachers, etc.
          better wages, and while we are at it find jobs for those in these facilities
          that they can do (through computers). Part of the problem is the lack of
          respect and if these people (some of them) could see that those who get
          stuck and have to depend upon others can still 'work' and 'interact', then
          maybe that respect would grow. There are no easy answers, but good for you
          for solving probably your problem (and who knows how many others he was
          torturing or worse!)

          Karen



          Karen L. Sadler
          Science Education
          University of Pittsburgh

          "I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can
          do something; I will not refuse to do something I can do."
          -Helen Keller

          "You know, sometimes it is the artist's task to find out how much
          music you can still make with what you have left."
          -Itzhak Perlman





          >From: Ironsides <ironsides@...>
          >Reply-To: Bioethics@yahoogroups.com
          >To: Bioethics@yahoogroups.com
          >Subject: RE: [Bioethics] institution in KY
          >Date: Thu, 03 Aug 2006 20:56:11 -0400
          >
          >"Taking care of residents is a grueling and sometimes dangerous job,
          >employees say.
          >Adult residents -- many with the mental age of infants or toddlers -- can
          >become easily frustrated or angered and might take it out on staff.
          >"I've been hit, kicked, slapped -- I've even had a TV thrown at me," said
          >30-year employee Beth Gholson, who retired Thursday. "When they have a
          >temper tantrum, they don't realize how strong they are." "
          >This is not a mental institution, but I definitely relate to the situations
          >at this long-term unit for respiratory patients. Over the past six years,
          >workers could have had it alot easier and better, if they had not started
          >dishing verbal dirt in our faces, and really rotten gang member type
          >behavior.
          >
          >For years, the head-nurses never really wanted to accept that their "good
          >workers" had a problem. They told me that one patient was sent to another
          >long-term institution, and if your lungs are shot, that isn't what you
          >want,
          >because it was understood that patients who were transferred here,
          >explained
          >that this place was better.
          >
          >Less than a year ago, things began to improve after plenty of meetings with
          >the head-nurse. The one time a worker did get physical with me, it was the
          >night after the head-nurse asked me to just let him do his job, and not
          >provoke him.--So, I did! But he deliberately came in, and taunted me for
          >about 5 minutes.
          >
          >Then I just blast the guy at the pitch of my voice to get out of here. I
          >fired away, that administration can keep him and any other dirt-bags on
          >night-shift they want, so they get their extra few dollars, and 2 hours
          >sleep.--But there is one thing patients can do, and that is kick you out of
          >the rooms. He slammed his finger in my face, and I kicked it out of the
          >way.
          >Then he grabbed my boot, and stuck that in my face.
          >
          >That morning when the head-nurse got here, I slammed her flat-out, and
          >said:
          >
          >You asked me to just let him do his job, and do nothing to provoke him into
          >anything. After telling her the rest, I told her, the next time any
          >employee
          >of the MUHC takes one move to getting physical with me, anything I do is
          >pure self-defense. If anybody gets in my way, it's not my fault if there is
          >collatoral damage.
          >
          >They launched a complete internal investigation, and interviewed every
          >employee to screen them out. At least one worker was fired, and his
          >supporters resigned. All I've got to say is good riddance to the trash, and
          >thank God for the rest!
          >
          >Some workers here had to take a CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) course,
          >and
          >it was what I recommended after I took mine three years ago. At first they
          >laughed about it, until after the events of last October.
          >.
          >Ironsides
          >mobile: 514-585-6265
          >http://groups.msn.com/IronsidesWorldHeadquarters/_homepage.msnw?lc=1033
          >http://iwhq.501megs.com/
          >http://ironsidesworldheadquarters.blogspot.com/
          >http://blog.360.yahoo.com/ironsides1st
          >
          >-----Original Message-----
          >From: Bioethics@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Bioethics@yahoogroups.com] On
          >Behalf
          >Of holly lu
          >Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2006 4:33 PM
          >To: Bioethics@yahoogroups.com
          >Subject: [Bioethics] institution in KY
          >
          >
          >dear friends--you will most likely have 2 levels of outrage as you read
          >below: first, at the reminder that there are still thousands of americans
          >with disabilities in institutional "care" whose most basic civil
          >rights--life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness--are violated daily;
          >second,
          >at the absolutely chilling letter to the editor posted online at the
          >newspaper site. The 1st line of the letter seems encouraging-but keep
          >reading, if you can stand it. I've checked the website since & am glad to
          >see that it is aflame with other points of view...
          >take care, holly lu
          >nashville, TN
          >
          >Information for leaders in The Arc
          >From The Arc of the United States Information for leaders in The Arc
          >From The Arc of the United States
          >
          > <http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/frontpage>
          >courier-journal.com > Local News
          ><http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=NEWS01> >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >Sunday, July 30, 2006
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >Oakwood's problems daunting
          >Official: 'It really cannot be fixed'
          >By Deborah Yetter
          >dyetter@...
          >The Courier-Journal
          >Problems at Communities at Oakwood, the state's largest center for adults
          >with mental retardation, might be too deep-rooted and complex to solve,
          >Kentucky's top human resources official said last week.
          >"I really thought I could fix Oakwood," said Mark D. Birdwhistell,
          >secretary
          >of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which operates Oakwood. "I'm
          >coming to conclude that it really cannot be fixed."
          >
          >
          >
          >Birdwhistell said he is not planning to close Oakwood, but he is working to
          >relocate as many of its 255 residents as possible to community settings,
          >such as group homes.
          >"The one thing that's working is community transition," he said.
          >If Oakwood survives, Birdwhistell envisions it as a smaller facility as
          >part
          >of a "continuum of care" including community placements.
          >But the threatened cutoff of federal funds -- amid growing reports of abuse
          >and neglect of residents and other problems -- has left Oakwood's future
          >uncertain, he said.
          >"I do very seriously feel like the funding is in jeopardy," Birdwhistell
          >said.
          >The state has amassed 20 citations in the past 19 months for serious
          >instances of abuse or neglect; criminal charges against 16 employees in the
          >past three years for alleged mistreatment of residents; and chronic staff
          >shortages that exacerbate other problems.
          >Hiring woes
          >Earlier this year, when Oakwood tried to hire more workers, it ran into an
          >obstacle: About half the initial applicants failed a drug test or criminal
          >background check.
          >The rate is improving, officials said, but finding qualified applicants
          >isn't the only problem.
          >Many hired at the facility don't stay once they realize the demands of the
          >job, officials and staff members said.
          >Turnover is critical because a wave of retirements in the late 1990s
          >stripped the Somerset facility of many experienced workers.
          >Further confounding hiring efforts, the pool of potential employees in
          >Somerset, population 12,000, is small for a facility that employs about
          >1,300 people.
          >Outside Somerset, the area is rural and the population sparse, Birdwhistell
          >said.
          >And as a result of disciplinary problems at Oakwood, 83 of the 716 "direct
          >care" workers have been assigned to wash laundry instead of caring for
          >residents until their abuse or neglect allegations are resolved.
          >Birdwhistell said he believes federal authorities are close to cutting off
          >$40 million a year in Medicaid money that pays most of the cost of
          >operating
          >Oakwood because of problems, including 20 citations since January 2005 from
          >the cabinet's inspector general for abuse or neglect of residents.
          >"I don't know why they haven't pulled it already," he said. "My plea to
          >them
          >has been, 'Give me more time.' "
          >But some people, including Oakwood workers, are worried time is running
          >out.
          >
          >"I just hope things get better pretty soon, that we stay open so I can
          >retire here," said Jana Wilson, 27, who has worked at Oakwood for seven
          >years. "I believe staff morale is the lowest I've ever seen it since I
          >worked here."
          >Firing difficult
          >Denise Thomas of Louisville said she agrees that dramatic steps are needed
          >to ensure the safety of residents, including her brother, Mark Brown.
          >He has been the victim in two alleged abuse cases.
          >In one instance, he allegedly was hit and kicked; more recently, four
          >staffers were charged with beating him with a broomstick.
          >"Something has to be done," Thomas said. "I'm not saying that it has to be
          >closed, but there are many issues that have to be addressed."
          >Three workers charged in the broomstick incident have been placed on 60-day
          >suspensions with pay while the state investigates the allegations; the
          >fourth worker is employed by a private contractor and records don't reflect
          >her status.
          >Birdwhistell said restrictions of the state merit system keep the state
          >from
          >firing people on the spot for suspected abuse or neglect. Instead they must
          >be reassigned or placed on paid leave during the investigation.
          >"I think you've got to have staff that you can fire at will if they're
          >beating someone with a broom," he said. "At Oakwood, they get sent to the
          >laundry."
          >Challenging job
          >Taking care of residents is a grueling and sometimes dangerous job,
          >employees say.
          >Adult residents -- many with the mental age of infants or toddlers -- can
          >become easily frustrated or angered and might take it out on staff.
          >"I've been hit, kicked, slapped -- I've even had a TV thrown at me," said
          >30-year employee Beth Gholson, who retired Thursday. "When they have a
          >temper tantrum, they don't realize how strong they are."
          >Wilson said chronic staff shortages are forcing employees to work double
          >shifts, sometimes two or three days in a row, leaving them stressed,
          >irritable and exhausted.
          >On top of that are the several state and federal investigations under way
          >into conditions at Oakwood.
          >Thomas, whose brother has lived at Oakwood for three years, said she was
          >"appalled" by staffing at his cottage when she and her sister visited last
          >week. During the two-hour stay, one staff worker spent most of the time
          >using her cell phone and another spent the time calling the office for
          >extra
          >help, she said.
          >Staff members didn't seem to know each other or the residents, Thomas said,
          >and two workers who entered the cottage mistook her and her sister for
          >staff.
          >"I don't see any improvements," Thomas said. "It's almost like a
          >regression.
          >At least in the past employees knew each other."
          >Gholson said she would hate for the state to lose Oakwood, forcing all
          >residents to relocate.
          >"It's a great place," she said. "We're about the only family some of these
          >clients have. I've been here 30 years and for some clients, I have never
          >seen their families."
          >Though she acknowledges that abuse and neglect have occurred, Gholson said
          >most of the staff members are hard-working people who care deeply about the
          >residents.
          >"A lot of the staff feel the same way I do," she said. "We get so tired of
          >the bad publicity in the paper."
          >Reporter Deborah Yetter can be reached at (502) 582-4228.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >StoryChat
          >Post a Comment
          ><http://forums.courier-journal.com/check_comment.php?articleId=607300486&sec
          >tion=Regional&title=%0D%0A%0D%0A%0D%0A%0D%0AOakwood%5C%27s+problems+daunting
          >%0D%0AOfficial%3A+%5C%27It+really+cannot+be+fixed%5C%27%0D%0A%0D%0A&category
          >Id=NEWS0104&pubDate=20060730&relationValue=BBvalue1%3DNEWS0104&cacheTime=5&d
          >isplay=1> Post a Comment View all Comments
          ><http://forums.courier-journal.com/viewtopic.php?t=2007> View All Comments
          > _____
          >
          >
          >
          >I think that it is high time that the quality of life of the Oakwood
          >residents is considered. These people are not wanted by their families or
          >they would not be at Oakwood to begin with. I am sure that people will
          >reply
          >that they love their family member at Oakwood but they just can't handle
          >them. Oh but it is so much kinder to hand them over to strangers to be
          >abused at Oakwood.
          >
          >These are people who will never drive, hold jobs, fall in love, have
          >children, feed themselves, wipe themselves and the list goes on and on.
          >These are people that do not benefit society in the least. Instead of
          >trying
          >to find other placements for these burdens on society we should consider
          >euthanasia as an option. I personally would not want to live like an animal
          >for my whole life.
          >
          >The article mentions a cost to medicaid (that is our tax dollars) of $40
          >plus million a year just to run Oa kwood. What about the hundreds of other
          >"Oakwoods" around the country? How much to run those? What is the grand
          >total being wasted to warehouse people that cannot positively contribute to
          >the society that is forced to pay for their upkeep?
          >
          >Other countries have euthanasia laws and it time for the USA to think about
          >adopting a few of their own.
          >
          >Posted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 9:41 pm
          >
          > _____
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >--
          >No virus found in this outgoing message.
          >Checked by AVG Free Edition.
          >Version: 7.1.394 / Virus Database: 268.10.5/405 - Release Date: 8/1/2006
          >
          >
          ><< image001.gif >>
          ><< image002.gif >>
        • Kathy
          People who do the jobs of Nursing assistants or behavioral technicians or personal care attendants whatever the job s official title is, get paid very
          Message 4 of 8 , Aug 4, 2006
          • 0 Attachment
            People who do the jobs of "Nursing assistants" or "behavioral technicians" or "personal care attendants" whatever the job's official title is, get paid very little and are not required to have any college education.  There is no competition for these jobs.  The wages are poor for a job that is difficult.  People would rather work at Walmart or McDonald's than work for the same wages.  (PCA agencies here get $15.00/hour, while the actual PCA gets $8.00/hour:  NOTE: Client driven supports have been very useful in this situation, where the family gets the amount pays for payroll & Comp Insurance, and can pay the PCA up to $15.00 per hour out of a CDCS Waiver). 
             
            Hospitals, and treatment centers want to higher fewer Registered Nurses to provide care.  They want to hire one RN to "monitor" huge Nursing Assistant staff, who provide all the care.  This is what happens in nursing homes.  There is one RN to supervise 4 floors of patients and ancillary staff.  Group homes hire RN's to make stops and "supervise" group home staff, but nobody knows what goes on day and night. 
             
            On psychiatric units, good staff are abused verbally at times and sometimes physically, without provocation.  Unfortunately, administration at hospitals, nursing homes, and group homes are most worried about how much money is made rather than high quality staff and good patient care.  People say that Universal Healthcare is the answer for this.  I disagree.  The States and Feds have not done so well for people with disabilities and mental illness currently, so what makes everybody want to throw caution to the wind and give UP EVERYTHING to the federal government to run all aspects of our healthcare, including what sorts of treatments are "evidence based" and appropriate for our care.  Universal care will be cookie cutter medicine, and actually eliminate the need for a physician at all. 
             
            CNA's and BT's need higher wages, and eduation requirements.  Nurses need administration that support their input in regards to CNA and BT job performance.  The actual nurses that work with the CNA and BT's have NO INPUT into job reviews or job performance evaluations for these employees.  At my place of employment, it is the administrators who leave the buildings at 4 PM and never step foot into a patient's room or have to work side by side the BT's and CNA's who provide all the job evals. 

            What makes a good CNA or BT to them?  Somebody who does not complain or argue and is a "yes" person, and somebody who shows up for their job, even late.
             
            We were all dismayed at Terri Schiavo's situation.  If all the people who were outraged at Terri's feeding tube coming out were as outraged by the care provided for people with disabilities similar to Terri's then maybe things might have a chance at changing. 
             
            That's my 2 cents.
            Kathy MN
             
             
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Ironsides
            Sent: Thursday, August 03, 2006 7:56 PM
            Subject: RE: [Bioethics] institution in KY

            "Taking care of residents is a grueling and sometimes dangerous job, employees say.

            Adult residents -- many with the mental age of infants or toddlers -- can become easily frustrated or angered and might take it out on staff.

            "I've been hit, kicked, slapped -- I've even had a TV thrown at me," said 30-year employee Beth Gholson, who retired Thursday. "When they have a temper tantrum, they don't realize how strong they are." "

            This is not a mental institution, but I definitely relate to the situations at this long-term unit for respiratory patients. Over the past six years, workers could have had it alot easier and better, if they had not started dishing verbal dirt in our faces, and really rotten gang member type behavior.
             
            For years, the head-nurses never really wanted to accept that their "good workers" had a problem. They told me that one patient was sent to another long-term institution, and if your lungs are shot, that isn't what you want, because it was understood that patients who were transferred here, explained that this place was better.
             
            Less than a year ago, things began to improve after plenty of meetings with the head-nurse. The one time a worker did get physical with me, it was the night after the head-nurse asked me to just let him do his job, and not provoke him.--So, I did! But he deliberately came in, and taunted me for about 5 minutes.
             
            Then I just blast the guy at the pitch of my voice to get out of here. I fired away, that administration can keep him and any other dirt-bags on night-shift they want, so they get their extra few dollars, and 2 hours sleep.--But there is one thing patients can do, and that is kick you out of the rooms. He slammed his finger in my face, and I kicked it out of the way. Then he grabbed my boot, and stuck that in my face.
             
            That morning when the head-nurse got here, I slammed her flat-out, and said:
             
            You asked me to just let him do his job, and do nothing to provoke him into anything. After telling her the rest, I told her, the next time any employee of the MUHC takes one move to getting physical with me, anything I do is pure self-defense. If anybody gets in my way, it's not my fault if there is collatoral damage.
             
            They launched a complete internal investigation, and interviewed every employee to screen them out. At least one worker was fired, and his supporters resigned. All I've got to say is good riddance to the trash, and thank God for the rest!
             
            Some workers here had to take a CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) course, and it was what I recommended after I took mine three years ago. At first they laughed about it, until after the events of last October.
            .
            Ironsides
            mobile: 514-585-6265
            http://groups. msn.com/Ironside sWorldHeadquarte rs/_homepage. msnw?lc=1033
            http://iwhq. 501megs.com/
            http://ironsideswor ldheadquarters. blogspot. com/
            http://blog. 360.yahoo. com/ironsides1st
            -----Original Message-----
            From: Bioethics@yahoogrou ps.com [mailto:Bioethics@ yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of holly lu
            Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2006 4:33 PM
            To: Bioethics@yahoogrou ps.com
            Subject: [Bioethics] institution in KY

            dear friends--you will most likely have 2 levels of outrage as you read below:  first, at the reminder that there are still thousands of americans with disabilities in institutional "care" whose most basic civil rights--life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness--are violated daily; second, at the absolutely chilling letter to the editor posted online at the newspaper site.  The 1st line of the letter seems encouraging—but keep reading, if you can stand it… I’ve checked the website since & am glad to see that it is aflame with other points of view...

            take care, holly lu

            nashville, TN

            Information for leaders in The Arc
            From The Arc of the United States Information for leaders in The Arc
            From The Arc of the
            United States

            Sunday, July 30, 2006

            Oakwood's problems daunting
            Official: 'It really cannot be fixed'

            By Deborah Yetter
            dyetter@courier- journal.com
            The Courier-Journal

            Problems at Communities at Oakwood, the state's largest center for adults with mental retardation, might be too deep-rooted and complex to solve, Kentucky's top human resources official said last week.

            "I really thought I could fix Oakwood," said Mark D. Birdwhistell, secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which operates Oakwood. "I'm coming to conclude that it really cannot be fixed."

            Birdwhistell said he is not planning to close Oakwood, but he is working to relocate as many of its 255 residents as possible to community settings, such as group homes.

            "The one thing that's working is community transition," he said.

            If Oakwood survives, Birdwhistell envisions it as a smaller facility as part of a "continuum of care" including community placements.

            But the threatened cutoff of federal funds -- amid growing reports of abuse and neglect of residents and other problems -- has left Oakwood's future uncertain, he said.

            "I do very seriously feel like the funding is in jeopardy," Birdwhistell said.

            The state has amassed 20 citations in the past 19 months for serious instances of abuse or neglect; criminal charges against 16 employees in the past three years for alleged mistreatment of residents; and chronic staff shortages that exacerbate other problems.

            Hiring woes

            Earlier this year, when Oakwood tried to hire more workers, it ran into an obstacle: About half the initial applicants failed a drug test or criminal background check.

            The rate is improving, officials said, but finding qualified applicants isn't the only problem.

            Many hired at the facility don't stay once they realize the demands of the job, officials and staff members said.

            Turnover is critical because a wave of retirements in the late 1990s stripped the Somerset facility of many experienced workers.

            Further confounding hiring efforts, the pool of potential employees in Somerset, population 12,000, is small for a facility that employs about 1,300 people.

            Outside Somerset, the area is rural and the population sparse, Birdwhistell said.

            And as a result of disciplinary problems at Oakwood, 83 of the 716 "direct care" workers have been assigned to wash laundry instead of caring for residents until their abuse or neglect allegations are resolved.

            Birdwhistell said he believes federal authorities are close to cutting off $40 million a year in Medicaid money that pays most of the cost of operating Oakwood because of problems, including 20 citations since January 2005 from the cabinet's inspector general for abuse or neglect of residents.

            "I don't know why they haven't pulled it already," he said. "My plea to them has been, 'Give me more time.' "

            But some people, including Oakwood workers, are worried time is running out.

            "I just hope things get better pretty soon, that we stay open so I can retire here," said Jana Wilson, 27, who has worked at Oakwood for seven years. "I believe staff morale is the lowest I've ever seen it since I worked here."

            Firing difficult

            Denise Thomas of Louisville said she agrees that dramatic steps are needed to ensure the safety of residents, including her brother, Mark Brown.

            He has been the victim in two alleged abuse cases.

            In one instance, he allegedly was hit and kicked; more recently, four staffers were charged with beating him with a broomstick.

            "Something has to be done," Thomas said. "I'm not saying that it has to be closed, but there are many issues that have to be addressed."

            Three workers charged in the broomstick incident have been placed on 60-day suspensions with pay while the state investigates the allegations; the fourth worker is employed by a private contractor and records don't reflect her status.

            Birdwhistell said restrictions of the state merit system keep the state from firing people on the spot for suspected abuse or neglect. Instead they must be reassigned or placed on paid leave during the investigation.

            "I think you've got to have staff that you can fire at will if they're beating someone with a broom," he said. "At Oakwood, they get sent to the laundry."

            Challenging job

            Taking care of residents is a grueling and sometimes dangerous job, employees say.

            Adult residents -- many with the mental age of infants or toddlers -- can become easily frustrated or angered and might take it out on staff.

            "I've been hit, kicked, slapped -- I've even had a TV thrown at me," said 30-year employee Beth Gholson, who retired Thursday. "When they have a temper tantrum, they don't realize how strong they are."

            Wilson said chronic staff shortages are forcing employees to work double shifts, sometimes two or three days in a row, leaving them stressed, irritable and exhausted.

            On top of that are the several state and federal investigations under way into conditions at Oakwood.

            Thomas, whose brother has lived at Oakwood for three years, said she was "appalled" by staffing at his cottage when she and her sister visited last week. During the two-hour stay, one staff worker spent most of the time using her cell phone and another spent the time calling the office for extra help, she said.

            Staff members didn't seem to know each other or the residents, Thomas said, and two workers who entered the cottage mistook her and her sister for staff.

            "I don't see any improvements, " Thomas said. "It's almost like a regression. At least in the past employees knew each other."

            Gholson said she would hate for the state to lose Oakwood, forcing all residents to relocate.

            "It's a great place," she said. "We're about the only family some of these clients have. I've been here 30 years and for some clients, I have never seen their families."

            Though she acknowledges that abuse and neglect have occurred, Gholson said most of the staff members are hard-working people who care deeply about the residents.

            "A lot of the staff feel the same way I do," she said. "We get so tired of the bad publicity in the paper."

            Reporter Deborah Yetter can be reached at (502) 582-4228.


            StoryChat


            I think that it is high time that the quality of life of the Oakwood residents is considered. These people are not wanted by their families or they would not be at Oakwood to begin with. I am sure that people will reply that they love their family member at Oakwood but they just can't handle them. Oh but it is so much kinder to hand them over to strangers to be abused at Oakwood.

            These are people who will never drive, hold jobs, fall in love, have children, feed themselves, wipe themselves and the list goes on and on. These are people that do not benefit society in the least. Instead of trying to find other placements for these burdens on society we should consider euthanasia as an option. I personally would not want to live like an animal for my whole life.

            The article mentions a cost to medicaid (that is our tax dollars) of $40 plus million a year just to run Oa kwood. What about the hundreds of other "Oakwoods" around the country? How much to run those? What is the grand total being wasted to warehouse people that cannot positively contribute to the society that is forced to pay for their upkeep?

            Other countries have euthanasia laws and it time for the
            USA to think about adopting a few of their own.

            Posted:
            Sun Jul 30, 2006 9:41 pm



            --
            No virus found in this outgoing message.
            Checked by AVG Free Edition.
            Version: 7.1.394 / Virus Database: 268.10.5/405 - Release Date: 8/1/2006

          • Sally Rogow
            Hi Kathy, I certainly agree with you. If people were served by attendants and aides who had some training, their chances for recovery would greatly increase.
            Message 5 of 8 , Aug 4, 2006
            • 0 Attachment
              Hi Kathy,
               
                 I certainly agree with you.  If people were served by attendants and aides who had some training, their chances for recovery would greatly increase.  Volunteer and paid aides who work with children with disabilities  need training....and need to treat children like real children...not charges.
               
              Sally
               
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Kathy
              Sent: Friday, August 04, 2006 6:54 AM
              Subject: Re: [Bioethics] institution in KY

              People who do the jobs of "Nursing assistants" or "behavioral technicians" or "personal care attendants" whatever the job's official title is, get paid very little and are not required to have any college education.  There is no competition for these jobs.  The wages are poor for a job that is difficult.  People would rather work at Walmart or McDonald's than work for the same wages.  (PCA agencies here get $15.00/hour, while the actual PCA gets $8.00/hour:  NOTE: Client driven supports have been very useful in this situation, where the family gets the amount pays for payroll & Comp Insurance, and can pay the PCA up to $15.00 per hour out of a CDCS Waiver). 
               
              Hospitals, and treatment centers want to higher fewer Registered Nurses to provide care.  They want to hire one RN to "monitor" huge Nursing Assistant staff, who provide all the care.  This is what happens in nursing homes.  There is one RN to supervise 4 floors of patients and ancillary staff.  Group homes hire RN's to make stops and "supervise" group home staff, but nobody knows what goes on day and night. 
               
              On psychiatric units, good staff are abused verbally at times and sometimes physically, without provocation.  Unfortunately, administration at hospitals, nursing homes, and group homes are most worried about how much money is made rather than high quality staff and good patient care.  People say that Universal Healthcare is the answer for this.  I disagree.  The States and Feds have not done so well for people with disabilities and mental illness currently, so what makes everybody want to throw caution to the wind and give UP EVERYTHING to the federal government to run all aspects of our healthcare, including what sorts of treatments are "evidence based" and appropriate for our care.  Universal care will be cookie cutter medicine, and actually eliminate the need for a physician at all. 
               
              CNA's and BT's need higher wages, and eduation requirements.  Nurses need administration that support their input in regards to CNA and BT job performance.  The actual nurses that work with the CNA and BT's have NO INPUT into job reviews or job performance evaluations for these employees.  At my place of employment, it is the administrators who leave the buildings at 4 PM and never step foot into a patient's room or have to work side by side the BT's and CNA's who provide all the job evals. 

              What makes a good CNA or BT to them?  Somebody who does not complain or argue and is a "yes" person, and somebody who shows up for their job, even late.
               
              We were all dismayed at Terri Schiavo's situation.  If all the people who were outraged at Terri's feeding tube coming out were as outraged by the care provided for people with disabilities similar to Terri's then maybe things might have a chance at changing. 
               
              That's my 2 cents.
              Kathy MN
               
               
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Ironsides
              Sent: Thursday, August 03, 2006 7:56 PM
              Subject: RE: [Bioethics] institution in KY

              "Taking care of residents is a grueling and sometimes dangerous job, employees say.

              Adult residents -- many with the mental age of infants or toddlers -- can become easily frustrated or angered and might take it out on staff.

              "I've been hit, kicked, slapped -- I've even had a TV thrown at me," said 30-year employee Beth Gholson, who retired Thursday. "When they have a temper tantrum, they don't realize how strong they are." "

              This is not a mental institution, but I definitely relate to the situations at this long-term unit for respiratory patients. Over the past six years, workers could have had it alot easier and better, if they had not started dishing verbal dirt in our faces, and really rotten gang member type behavior.
               
              For years, the head-nurses never really wanted to accept that their "good workers" had a problem. They told me that one patient was sent to another long-term institution, and if your lungs are shot, that isn't what you want, because it was understood that patients who were transferred here, explained that this place was better.
               
              Less than a year ago, things began to improve after plenty of meetings with the head-nurse. The one time a worker did get physical with me, it was the night after the head-nurse asked me to just let him do his job, and not provoke him.--So, I did! But he deliberately came in, and taunted me for about 5 minutes.
               
              Then I just blast the guy at the pitch of my voice to get out of here. I fired away, that administration can keep him and any other dirt-bags on night-shift they want, so they get their extra few dollars, and 2 hours sleep.--But there is one thing patients can do, and that is kick you out of the rooms. He slammed his finger in my face, and I kicked it out of the way. Then he grabbed my boot, and stuck that in my face.
               
              That morning when the head-nurse got here, I slammed her flat-out, and said:
               
              You asked me to just let him do his job, and do nothing to provoke him into anything. After telling her the rest, I told her, the next time any employee of the MUHC takes one move to getting physical with me, anything I do is pure self-defense. If anybody gets in my way, it's not my fault if there is collatoral damage.
               
              They launched a complete internal investigation, and interviewed every employee to screen them out. At least one worker was fired, and his supporters resigned. All I've got to say is good riddance to the trash, and thank God for the rest!
               
              Some workers here had to take a CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) course, and it was what I recommended after I took mine three years ago. At first they laughed about it, until after the events of last October.
              .
              Ironsides
              mobile: 514-585-6265
              http://groups. msn.com/Ironside sWorldHeadquarte rs/_homepage. msnw?lc=1033
              http://iwhq. 501megs.com/
              http://ironsideswor ldheadquarters. blogspot. com/
              http://blog. 360.yahoo. com/ironsides1st
              -----Original Message-----
              From: Bioethics@yahoogrou ps.com [mailto:Bioethics@ yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of holly lu
              Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2006 4:33 PM
              To: Bioethics@yahoogrou ps.com
              Subject: [Bioethics] institution in KY

              dear friends--you will most likely have 2 levels of outrage as you read below:  first, at the reminder that there are still thousands of americans with disabilities in institutional "care" whose most basic civil rights--life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness--are violated daily; second, at the absolutely chilling letter to the editor posted online at the newspaper site.  The 1st line of the letter seems encouraging—but keep reading, if you can stand it… I’ve checked the website since & am glad to see that it is aflame with other points of view...

              take care, holly lu

              nashville, TN

              Information for leaders in The Arc
              From The Arc of the United States Information for leaders in The Arc
              From The Arc of the
              United States

              Sunday, July 30, 2006

              Oakwood's problems daunting
              Official: 'It really cannot be fixed'

              By Deborah Yetter
              dyetter@courier- journal.com
              The Courier-Journal

              Problems at Communities at Oakwood, the state's largest center for adults with mental retardation, might be too deep-rooted and complex to solve, Kentucky's top human resources official said last week.

              "I really thought I could fix Oakwood," said Mark D. Birdwhistell, secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which operates Oakwood. "I'm coming to conclude that it really cannot be fixed."

              Birdwhistell said he is not planning to close Oakwood, but he is working to relocate as many of its 255 residents as possible to community settings, such as group homes.

              "The one thing that's working is community transition," he said.

              If Oakwood survives, Birdwhistell envisions it as a smaller facility as part of a "continuum of care" including community placements.

              But the threatened cutoff of federal funds -- amid growing reports of abuse and neglect of residents and other problems -- has left Oakwood's future uncertain, he said.

              "I do very seriously feel like the funding is in jeopardy," Birdwhistell said.

              The state has amassed 20 citations in the past 19 months for serious instances of abuse or neglect; criminal charges against 16 employees in the past three years for alleged mistreatment of residents; and chronic staff shortages that exacerbate other problems.

              Hiring woes

              Earlier this year, when Oakwood tried to hire more workers, it ran into an obstacle: About half the initial applicants failed a drug test or criminal background check.

              The rate is improving, officials said, but finding qualified applicants isn't the only problem.

              Many hired at the facility don't stay once they realize the demands of the job, officials and staff members said.

              Turnover is critical because a wave of retirements in the late 1990s stripped the Somerset facility of many experienced workers.

              Further confounding hiring efforts, the pool of potential employees in Somerset, population 12,000, is small for a facility that employs about 1,300 people.

              Outside Somerset, the area is rural and the population sparse, Birdwhistell said.

              And as a result of disciplinary problems at Oakwood, 83 of the 716 "direct care" workers have been assigned to wash laundry instead of caring for residents until their abuse or neglect allegations are resolved.

              Birdwhistell said he believes federal authorities are close to cutting off $40 million a year in Medicaid money that pays most of the cost of operating Oakwood because of problems, including 20 citations since January 2005 from the cabinet's inspector general for abuse or neglect of residents.

              "I don't know why they haven't pulled it already," he said. "My plea to them has been, 'Give me more time.' "

              But some people, including Oakwood workers, are worried time is running out.

              "I just hope things get better pretty soon, that we stay open so I can retire here," said Jana Wilson, 27, who has worked at Oakwood for seven years. "I believe staff morale is the lowest I've ever seen it since I worked here."

              Firing difficult

              Denise Thomas of Louisville said she agrees that dramatic steps are needed to ensure the safety of residents, including her brother, Mark Brown.

              He has been the victim in two alleged abuse cases.

              In one instance, he allegedly was hit and kicked; more recently, four staffers were charged with beating him with a broomstick.

              "Something has to be done," Thomas said. "I'm not saying that it has to be closed, but there are many issues that have to be addressed."

              Three workers charged in the broomstick incident have been placed on 60-day suspensions with pay while the state investigates the allegations; the fourth worker is employed by a private contractor and records don't reflect her status.

              Birdwhistell said restrictions of the state merit system keep the state from firing people on the spot for suspected abuse or neglect. Instead they must be reassigned or placed on paid leave during the investigation.

              "I think you've got to have staff that you can fire at will if they're beating someone with a broom," he said. "At Oakwood, they get sent to the laundry."

              Challenging job

              Taking care of residents is a grueling and sometimes dangerous job, employees say.

              Adult residents -- many with the mental age of infants or toddlers -- can become easily frustrated or angered and might take it out on staff.

              "I've been hit, kicked, slapped -- I've even had a TV thrown at me," said 30-year employee Beth Gholson, who retired Thursday. "When they have a temper tantrum, they don't realize how strong they are."

              Wilson said chronic staff shortages are forcing employees to work double shifts, sometimes two or three days in a row, leaving them stressed, irritable and exhausted.

              On top of that are the several state and federal investigations under way into conditions at Oakwood.

              Thomas, whose brother has lived at Oakwood for three years, said she was "appalled" by staffing at his cottage when she and her sister visited last week. During the two-hour stay, one staff worker spent most of the time using her cell phone and another spent the time calling the office for extra help, she said.

              Staff members didn't seem to know each other or the residents, Thomas said, and two workers who entered the cottage mistook her and her sister for staff.

              "I don't see any improvements, " Thomas said. "It's almost like a regression. At least in the past employees knew each other."

              Gholson said she would hate for the state to lose Oakwood, forcing all residents to relocate.

              "It's a great place," she said. "We're about the only family some of these clients have. I've been here 30 years and for some clients, I have never seen their families."

              Though she acknowledges that abuse and neglect have occurred, Gholson said most of the staff members are hard-working people who care deeply about the residents.

              "A lot of the staff feel the same way I do," she said. "We get so tired of the bad publicity in the paper."

              Reporter Deborah Yetter can be reached at (502) 582-4228.


              StoryChat


              I think that it is high time that the quality of life of the Oakwood residents is considered. These people are not wanted by their families or they would not be at Oakwood to begin with. I am sure that people will reply that they love their family member at Oakwood but they just can't handle them. Oh but it is so much kinder to hand them over to strangers to be abused at Oakwood.

              These are people who will never drive, hold jobs, fall in love, have children, feed themselves, wipe themselves and the list goes on and on. These are people that do not benefit society in the least. Instead of trying to find other placements for these burdens on society we should consider euthanasia as an option. I personally would not want to live like an animal for my whole life.

              The article mentions a cost to medicaid (that is our tax dollars) of $40 plus million a year just to run Oa kwood. What about the hundreds of other "Oakwoods" around the country? How much to run those? What is the grand total being wasted to warehouse people that cannot positively contribute to the society that is forced to pay for their upkeep?

              Other countries have euthanasia laws and it time for the
              USA to think about adopting a few of their own.

              Posted:
              Sun Jul 30, 2006 9:41 pm



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            • Ironsides
              Concerning psychiatric hospitals, I don t dispute the level of unprovoked abuse which workers are under. One point I was trying to make, however, is alot of
              Message 6 of 8 , Aug 6, 2006
              • 0 Attachment
                Message
                Concerning psychiatric hospitals, I don't dispute the level of unprovoked abuse which workers are under. One point I was trying to make, however, is alot of other long-term care facilities have had a problem initiated by staff workers. So, there must be quite a few cases in psychiatric institutions which never receive attention. I understand that in psychatric wards of hospitals, that there are dangerous patients. It is compounded if workers have a thrill for triggering somebody off.
                 
                Administration here would have been more than relieved if a shrink would have diagnosed me as a psycho. However, because of Interferon (a drug used for Hepatitis C) I had to see a psychiatrist a second time, to determine if it was the problem of mood swings. Two psychiatrists and the Dept. of Psychology determined that I was highly alert, and above average short-term memory. This confused the head-nurses and administration, because they could not recall any problems I had during 1995-96.
                 
                That was when they decided to consider half the things Nancy and me were explaining to them for two years, even before Nancy moved into long-term. Between myself and the head-nurses, we always got along pretty good, but they could not relate to why their workers would be blameable for anything. They seemed to really do their jobs well, and I just wasn't thankful. Whereas there was only one patient they told me about, who they transferred elsewhere, they accused me of being the only person complaining here.
                 
                The head-nurses would talk to their workers, and eventually the head-nurses occasionally came in during the evening shift when nobody saw them going to their office. There is plenty of time for them to come and go when the nurses and PA's are half on break, and the other half in patients' rooms. Also, there were times when one of the head-nurses would work with the evening staff, and see how things go.
                 
                Until about two years ago I never considered myself really "a patient", who needed "care". I just needed a place to stay, and help to get my braces on my legs in the morning, to wash up, and my braces off at night. In 1995-96 I was here for a year and a half, after I had nobody to live with. I was recovering from three respiratory failures in '93-'94, and my roommates could not handle it any more. By July '96 I scored a rent subsidy, and landed an apartment nearby. For four years I was OK most of the time, except for home-care workers who didn't come if they didn't feel like it.--Also, my food situation got bad, and I had to move back here in 2000.
                 
                In '99 there was a nurses' strike in Quebec, and because the conditions of the workers deserved public support, I tried to persuade the provincial patients' committee to join the nurses' strike. I really would have liked to see solidarity between the Patients' Committees and the nurses' unions. But, after what I got hit in the face with the day I was transferred from acute-care to long-term, I decided, 'never again'!
                 
                I was still recovering from a respiratory failure, and asked a PA if I could go to bed early.--Everybody here knew me. She just stood up, chest out, and lectured me that this is not a hotel. She went on to ramble on that I would get into bed when it was suitable for her, on her rounds. Well, I was not in shape to wait until she did the rounds. So, you can bet your next coffee break, that my vocabulary was colorful. After the nurse forced her to let me get into bed right away, the PA made sure she was rough, and I had to fight to breathe.
                 
                The next day when I needed a commode, the workers all got the nurses to agree that I had to go to the toilet 60 feet away. So, I gave them a choice to either get me a commode, or clean up the mess. I earned another lecture that it wasn't a hotel. When I got hold of the head-nurse, she cured the problem with the workers until I was able to get to the washroom.
                 
                I won't go any further in describing the other departments, and everybody was singing the same tune: "this isn't a hotel, you know"! Since everybody used the same line, it was obvious that the unions supplied workers with how to respond to all the patients.
                 
                It is one thing to understand and sympathize with the workers' lack of appreciation and pay by corrupt slave-drivers. It's another thing to excuse their behavior, and presume that it was the patients' fault. What I have observed here, not only with myself and my wife, but with other patients over the past six years, is occasionally when a worker is tongue-lashed by a patient, it was a reflex to what other people had done. So, when rotten workers want to get away with verbal and physical muscle-flexing, innocent workers end up suffering for it.
                 
                Personally, I'm convinced that a mandatory course for anybody going to be a nurse, PA or doctor should be CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy). Those people need to think about themselves as the patient, resident or whatever. If they put themselves in the people's situation they are helping, things would change.
                 
                Here, in the past year I've done skits for the head-nurses, just to demonstrate how screwed-up half the workers are. I literally had to go over every detail of how they should enter a room, in the morning. Whereas they usually go trompin' in the rooms, and dump towels and cloths on some people's tables, and their basin of water, they do not even ask if they needed help with anything. If some patients ask for help, depending on the worker's mood that day, they usually say you can do it yourself.
                 
                Somebody with a functional brain would get the point, that if a respiratory patient asks for help with something, they need help.--Not these self acclaimed experts! The PA's and the nurses know that the patients are just being lazy, and not wanting to be "autonomous". Situations like that are when patients sometimes get nasty.
                 
                As more and more disabled people get to the stage I am at, where I can't live independently anymore, you made a real good point, for disability rights groups to get connected with Patient Groups, and help to railroad changes in hospitals and long-term care institutions.
                 
                Take care!
                 
                Ironsides
                mobile: 514-585-6265
                http://groups.msn.com/IronsidesWorldHeadquarters/_homepage.msnw?lc=1033
                http://iwhq.501megs.com/
                http://ironsidesworldheadquarters.blogspot.com/
                http://blog.360.yahoo.com/ironsides1st
                 
                -----Original Message-----
                From: Bioethics@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Bioethics@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Kathy
                Sent: Friday, August 04, 2006 9:55 AM
                To: Bioethics@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [Bioethics] institution in KY

                People who do the jobs of "Nursing assistants" or "behavioral technicians" or "personal care attendants" whatever the job's official title is, get paid very little and are not required to have any college education.  There is no competition for these jobs.  The wages are poor for a job that is difficult.  People would rather work at Walmart or McDonald's than work for the same wages.  (PCA agencies here get $15.00/hour, while the actual PCA gets $8.00/hour:  NOTE: Client driven supports have been very useful in this situation, where the family gets the amount pays for payroll & Comp Insurance, and can pay the PCA up to $15.00 per hour out of a CDCS Waiver). 
                 
                Hospitals, and treatment centers want to higher fewer Registered Nurses to provide care.  They want to hire one RN to "monitor" huge Nursing Assistant staff, who provide all the care.  This is what happens in nursing homes.  There is one RN to supervise 4 floors of patients and ancillary staff.  Group homes hire RN's to make stops and "supervise" group home staff, but nobody knows what goes on day and night. 
                 
                On psychiatric units, good staff are abused verbally at times and sometimes physically, without provocation.  Unfortunately, administration at hospitals, nursing homes, and group homes are most worried about how much money is made rather than high quality staff and good patient care.  People say that Universal Healthcare is the answer for this.  I disagree.  The States and Feds have not done so well for people with disabilities and mental illness currently, so what makes everybody want to throw caution to the wind and give UP EVERYTHING to the federal government to run all aspects of our healthcare, including what sorts of treatments are "evidence based" and appropriate for our care.  Universal care will be cookie cutter medicine, and actually eliminate the need for a physician at all. 
                 
                CNA's and BT's need higher wages, and eduation requirements.  Nurses need administration that support their input in regards to CNA and BT job performance.  The actual nurses that work with the CNA and BT's have NO INPUT into job reviews or job performance evaluations for these employees.  At my place of employment, it is the administrators who leave the buildings at 4 PM and never step foot into a patient's room or have to work side by side the BT's and CNA's who provide all the job evals. 

                What makes a good CNA or BT to them?  Somebody who does not complain or argue and is a "yes" person, and somebody who shows up for their job, even late.
                 
                We were all dismayed at Terri Schiavo's situation.  If all the people who were outraged at Terri's feeding tube coming out were as outraged by the care provided for people with disabilities similar to Terri's then maybe things might have a chance at changing. 
                 
                That's my 2 cents.
                Kathy MN
              • Ironsides
                Concerning psychiatric hospitals, I don t dispute the level of unprovoked abuse which workers are under. One point I was trying to make, however, is alot of
                Message 7 of 8 , Aug 6, 2006
                • 0 Attachment
                  Message
                  Concerning psychiatric hospitals, I don't dispute the level of unprovoked abuse which workers are under. One point I was trying to make, however, is alot of other long-term care facilities have had a problem initiated by staff workers. So, there must be quite a few cases in psychiatric institutions which never receive attention. I understand that in psychatric wards of hospitals, that there are dangerous patients. It is compounded if workers have a thrill for triggering somebody off.
                   
                  Administration here would have been more than relieved if a shrink would have diagnosed me as a psycho. However, because of Interferon (a drug used for Hepatitis C) I had to see a psychiatrist a second time, to determine if it was the problem of mood swings. Two psychiatrists and the Dept. of Psychology determined that I was highly alert, and above average short-term memory. This confused the head-nurses and administration, because they could not recall any problems I had during 1995-96.
                   
                  That was when they decided to consider half the things Nancy and me were explaining to them for two years, even before Nancy moved into long-term. Between myself and the head-nurses, we always got along pretty good, but they could not relate to why their workers would be blameable for anything. They seemed to really do their jobs well, and I just wasn't thankful. Whereas there was only one patient they told me about, who they transferred elsewhere, they accused me of being the only person complaining here.
                   
                  The head-nurses would talk to their workers, and eventually the head-nurses occasionally came in during the evening shift when nobody saw them going to their office. There is plenty of time for them to come and go when the nurses and PA's are half on break, and the other half in patients' rooms. Also, there were times when one of the head-nurses would work with the evening staff, and see how things go.
                   
                  Until about two years ago I never considered myself really "a patient", who needed "care". I just needed a place to stay, and help to get my braces on my legs in the morning, to wash up, and my braces off at night. In 1995-96 I was here for a year and a half, after I had nobody to live with. I was recovering from three respiratory failures in '93-'94, and my roommates could not handle it any more. By July '96 I scored a rent subsidy, and landed an apartment nearby. For four years I was OK most of the time, except for home-care workers who didn't come if they didn't feel like it.--Also, my food situation got bad, and I had to move back here in 2000.
                   
                  In '99 there was a nurses' strike in Quebec, and because the conditions of the workers deserved public support, I tried to persuade the provincial patients' committee to join the nurses' strike. I really would have liked to see solidarity between the Patients' Committees and the nurses' unions. But, after what I got hit in the face with the day I was transferred from acute-care to long-term, I decided, 'never again'!
                   
                  I was still recovering from a respiratory failure, and asked a PA if I could go to bed early.--Everybody here knew me. She just stood up, chest out, and lectured me that this is not a hotel. She went on to ramble on that I would get into bed when it was suitable for her, on her rounds. Well, I was not in shape to wait until she did the rounds. So, you can bet your next coffee break, that my vocabulary was colorful. After the nurse forced her to let me get into bed right away, the PA made sure she was rough, and I had to fight to breathe.
                   
                  The next day when I needed a commode, the workers all got the nurses to agree that I had to go to the toilet 60 feet away. So, I gave them a choice to either get me a commode, or clean up the mess. I earned another lecture that it wasn't a hotel. When I got hold of the head-nurse, she cured the problem with the workers until I was able to get to the washroom.
                   
                  I won't go any further in describing the other departments, and everybody was singing the same tune: "this isn't a hotel, you know"! Since everybody used the same line, it was obvious that the unions supplied workers with how to respond to all the patients.
                   
                  It is one thing to understand and sympathize with the workers' lack of appreciation and pay by corrupt slave-drivers. It's another thing to excuse their behavior, and presume that it was the patients' fault. What I have observed here, not only with myself and my wife, but with other patients over the past six years, is occasionally when a worker is tongue-lashed by a patient, it was a reflex to what other people had done. So, when rotten workers want to get away with verbal and physical muscle-flexing, innocent workers end up suffering for it.
                   
                  Personally, I'm convinced that a mandatory course for anybody going to be a nurse, PA or doctor should be CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy). Those people need to think about themselves as the patient, resident or whatever. If they put themselves in the people's situation they are helping, things would change.
                   
                  Here, in the past year I've done skits for the head-nurses, just to demonstrate how screwed-up half the workers are. I literally had to go over every detail of how they should enter a room, in the morning. Whereas they usually go trompin' in the rooms, and dump towels and cloths on some people's tables, and their basin of water, they do not even ask if they needed help with anything. If some patients ask for help, depending on the worker's mood that day, they usually say you can do it yourself.
                   
                  Somebody with a functional brain would get the point, that if a respiratory patient asks for help with something, they need help.--Not these self acclaimed experts! The PA's and the nurses know that the patients are just being lazy, and not wanting to be "autonomous". Situations like that are when patients sometimes get nasty.
                   
                  As more and more disabled people get to the stage I am at, where I can't live independently anymore, you made a real good point, for disability rights groups to get connected with Patient Groups, and help to railroad changes in hospitals and long-term care institutions.
                   
                  Take care!
                   
                  Ironsides
                  mobile: 514-585-6265
                  http://groups.msn.com/IronsidesWorldHeadquarters/_homepage.msnw?lc=1033
                  http://iwhq.501megs.com/
                  http://ironsidesworldheadquarters.blogspot.com/
                  http://blog.360.yahoo.com/ironsides1st
                   
                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Bioethics@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Bioethics@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Kathy
                  Sent: Friday, August 04, 2006 9:55 AM
                  To: Bioethics@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [Bioethics] institution in KY

                  People who do the jobs of "Nursing assistants" or "behavioral technicians" or "personal care attendants" whatever the job's official title is, get paid very little and are not required to have any college education.  There is no competition for these jobs.  The wages are poor for a job that is difficult.  People would rather work at Walmart or McDonald's than work for the same wages.  (PCA agencies here get $15.00/hour, while the actual PCA gets $8.00/hour:  NOTE: Client driven supports have been very useful in this situation, where the family gets the amount pays for payroll & Comp Insurance, and can pay the PCA up to $15.00 per hour out of a CDCS Waiver). 
                   
                  Hospitals, and treatment centers want to higher fewer Registered Nurses to provide care.  They want to hire one RN to "monitor" huge Nursing Assistant staff, who provide all the care.  This is what happens in nursing homes.  There is one RN to supervise 4 floors of patients and ancillary staff.  Group homes hire RN's to make stops and "supervise" group home staff, but nobody knows what goes on day and night. 
                   
                  On psychiatric units, good staff are abused verbally at times and sometimes physically, without provocation.  Unfortunately, administration at hospitals, nursing homes, and group homes are most worried about how much money is made rather than high quality staff and good patient care.  People say that Universal Healthcare is the answer for this.  I disagree.  The States and Feds have not done so well for people with disabilities and mental illness currently, so what makes everybody want to throw caution to the wind and give UP EVERYTHING to the federal government to run all aspects of our healthcare, including what sorts of treatments are "evidence based" and appropriate for our care.  Universal care will be cookie cutter medicine, and actually eliminate the need for a physician at all. 
                   
                  CNA's and BT's need higher wages, and eduation requirements.  Nurses need administration that support their input in regards to CNA and BT job performance.  The actual nurses that work with the CNA and BT's have NO INPUT into job reviews or job performance evaluations for these employees.  At my place of employment, it is the administrators who leave the buildings at 4 PM and never step foot into a patient's room or have to work side by side the BT's and CNA's who provide all the job evals. 

                  What makes a good CNA or BT to them?  Somebody who does not complain or argue and is a "yes" person, and somebody who shows up for their job, even late.
                   
                  We were all dismayed at Terri Schiavo's situation.  If all the people who were outraged at Terri's feeding tube coming out were as outraged by the care provided for people with disabilities similar to Terri's then maybe things might have a chance at changing. 
                   
                  That's my 2 cents.
                  Kathy MN
                • Kathy
                  Ironsides, I do not sympathize with unethical behavior in workers. In fact, quite the opposite. You agree to do a job, for a certain rate of pay, and a
                  Message 8 of 8 , Aug 7, 2006
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Ironsides, I do not sympathize with unethical behavior in workers.  In fact, quite the opposite.  You agree to do a job, for a certain rate of pay, and a certain job requirement, then do the job with a good, positive attitude, to the absolute best of your ability with kindess.  *Or get a different job.*
                     
                    I agree with you and understand what you are saying.
                     
                    My explanation was not to excuse immoral behavior.  There is a high demand for that position and no qualifications required for the most part, with low pay.  People are not flocking to work as CNA's.  And, that if nurse to patient ratios were much much better, than care would be much better. 
                     
                    Acute Care Hospitals are trying to go the way of long term care facilities.  In fact, "Team" nursing is a model that many acute care facilities are switching to.  This means that "Data" or assessment data of a patient will be "collected" by Nursing Assistants, with the Registered Nurse, "Interpreting" the data, and calling the doctor for orders etc.  This puts Nursing Assistants at your bed side, and takes away Registered Nurses. 
                     
                    Now, legally CNA's cannot interpret data.  However, they are going to "collect" all of our data, Blood Pressures, Blood Sugars, body scans for skin integrity, level of conciousness, etc, while we "interpret" all the data.  Data is only as good as the person's skill level and integrity of collection.  It puts our nursing license at jeopardy, and the patients at risk.
                     
                    But, this will save money, as the largest expense is the RN.
                     
                    We are sacrificing care provided to patients in acute care facilities.  And, everybody ignores, for the most part, the lack of adequate, decent care in long term care facilities or group homes for people with developmental disabilities. 
                     
                    Kathy Minnesota
                     
                     
                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: Ironsides
                    Sent: Sunday, August 06, 2006 7:29 AM
                    Subject: RE: [Bioethics] institution in KY

                    Concerning psychiatric hospitals, I don't dispute the level of unprovoked abuse which workers are under. One point I was trying to make, however, is alot of other long-term care facilities have had a problem initiated by staff workers. So, there must be quite a few cases in psychiatric institutions which never receive attention. I understand that in psychatric wards of hospitals, that there are dangerous patients. It is compounded if workers have a thrill for triggering somebody off.
                     
                    Administration here would have been more than relieved if a shrink would have diagnosed me as a psycho. However, because of Interferon (a drug used for Hepatitis C) I had to see a psychiatrist a second time, to determine if it was the problem of mood swings. Two psychiatrists and the Dept. of Psychology determined that I was highly alert, and above average short-term memory. This confused the head-nurses and administration, because they could not recall any problems I had during 1995-96.
                     
                    That was when they decided to consider half the things Nancy and me were explaining to them for two years, even before Nancy moved into long-term. Between myself and the head-nurses, we always got along pretty good, but they could not relate to why their workers would be blameable for anything. They seemed to really do their jobs well, and I just wasn't thankful. Whereas there was only one patient they told me about, who they transferred elsewhere, they accused me of being the only person complaining here.
                     
                    The head-nurses would talk to their workers, and eventually the head-nurses occasionally came in during the evening shift when nobody saw them going to their office. There is plenty of time for them to come and go when the nurses and PA's are half on break, and the other half in patients' rooms. Also, there were times when one of the head-nurses would work with the evening staff, and see how things go.
                     
                    Until about two years ago I never considered myself really "a patient", who needed "care". I just needed a place to stay, and help to get my braces on my legs in the morning, to wash up, and my braces off at night. In 1995-96 I was here for a year and a half, after I had nobody to live with. I was recovering from three respiratory failures in '93-'94, and my roommates could not handle it any more. By July '96 I scored a rent subsidy, and landed an apartment nearby. For four years I was OK most of the time, except for home-care workers who didn't come if they didn't feel like it.--Also, my food situation got bad, and I had to move back here in 2000.
                     
                    In '99 there was a nurses' strike in Quebec, and because the conditions of the workers deserved public support, I tried to persuade the provincial patients' committee to join the nurses' strike. I really would have liked to see solidarity between the Patients' Committees and the nurses' unions. But, after what I got hit in the face with the day I was transferred from acute-care to long-term, I decided, 'never again'!
                     
                    I was still recovering from a respiratory failure, and asked a PA if I could go to bed early.--Everybody here knew me. She just stood up, chest out, and lectured me that this is not a hotel. She went on to ramble on that I would get into bed when it was suitable for her, on her rounds. Well, I was not in shape to wait until she did the rounds. So, you can bet your next coffee break, that my vocabulary was colorful. After the nurse forced her to let me get into bed right away, the PA made sure she was rough, and I had to fight to breathe.
                     
                    The next day when I needed a commode, the workers all got the nurses to agree that I had to go to the toilet 60 feet away. So, I gave them a choice to either get me a commode, or clean up the mess. I earned another lecture that it wasn't a hotel. When I got hold of the head-nurse, she cured the problem with the workers until I was able to get to the washroom.
                     
                    I won't go any further in describing the other departments, and everybody was singing the same tune: "this isn't a hotel, you know"! Since everybody used the same line, it was obvious that the unions supplied workers with how to respond to all the patients.
                     
                    It is one thing to understand and sympathize with the workers' lack of appreciation and pay by corrupt slave-drivers. It's another thing to excuse their behavior, and presume that it was the patients' fault. What I have observed here, not only with myself and my wife, but with other patients over the past six years, is occasionally when a worker is tongue-lashed by a patient, it was a reflex to what other people had done. So, when rotten workers want to get away with verbal and physical muscle-flexing, innocent workers end up suffering for it.
                     
                    Personally, I'm convinced that a mandatory course for anybody going to be a nurse, PA or doctor should be CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy). Those people need to think about themselves as the patient, resident or whatever. If they put themselves in the people's situation they are helping, things would change.
                     
                    Here, in the past year I've done skits for the head-nurses, just to demonstrate how screwed-up half the workers are. I literally had to go over every detail of how they should enter a room, in the morning. Whereas they usually go trompin' in the rooms, and dump towels and cloths on some people's tables, and their basin of water, they do not even ask if they needed help with anything. If some patients ask for help, depending on the worker's mood that day, they usually say you can do it yourself.
                     
                    Somebody with a functional brain would get the point, that if a respiratory patient asks for help with something, they need help.--Not these self acclaimed experts! The PA's and the nurses know that the patients are just being lazy, and not wanting to be "autonomous" . Situations like that are when patients sometimes get nasty.
                     
                    As more and more disabled people get to the stage I am at, where I can't live independently anymore, you made a real good point, for disability rights groups to get connected with Patient Groups, and help to railroad changes in hospitals and long-term care institutions.
                     
                    Take care!
                     
                    Ironsides
                    mobile: 514-585-6265
                    http://groups. msn.com/Ironside sWorldHeadquarte rs/_homepage. msnw?lc=1033
                    http://iwhq. 501megs.com/
                    http://ironsideswor ldheadquarters. blogspot. com/
                    http://blog. 360.yahoo. com/ironsides1st
                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: Bioethics@yahoogrou ps.com [mailto:Bioethics@ yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of Kathy
                    Sent: Friday, August 04, 2006 9:55 AM
                    To: Bioethics@yahoogrou ps.com
                    Subject: Re: [Bioethics] institution in KY

                    People who do the jobs of "Nursing assistants" or "behavioral technicians" or "personal care attendants" whatever the job's official title is, get paid very little and are not required to have any college education.  There is no competition for these jobs.  The wages are poor for a job that is difficult.  People would rather work at Walmart or McDonald's than work for the same wages.  (PCA agencies here get $15.00/hour, while the actual PCA gets $8.00/hour:  NOTE: Client driven supports have been very useful in this situation, where the family gets the amount pays for payroll & Comp Insurance, and can pay the PCA up to $15.00 per hour out of a CDCS Waiver). 
                     
                    Hospitals, and treatment centers want to higher fewer Registered Nurses to provide care.  They want to hire one RN to "monitor" huge Nursing Assistant staff, who provide all the care.  This is what happens in nursing homes.  There is one RN to supervise 4 floors of patients and ancillary staff.  Group homes hire RN's to make stops and "supervise" group home staff, but nobody knows what goes on day and night. 
                     
                    On psychiatric units, good staff are abused verbally at times and sometimes physically, without provocation.  Unfortunately, administration at hospitals, nursing homes, and group homes are most worried about how much money is made rather than high quality staff and good patient care.  People say that Universal Healthcare is the answer for this.  I disagree.  The States and Feds have not done so well for people with disabilities and mental illness currently, so what makes everybody want to throw caution to the wind and give UP EVERYTHING to the federal government to run all aspects of our healthcare, including what sorts of treatments are "evidence based" and appropriate for our care.  Universal care will be cookie cutter medicine, and actually eliminate the need for a physician at all. 
                     
                    CNA's and BT's need higher wages, and eduation requirements.  Nurses need administration that support their input in regards to CNA and BT job performance.  The actual nurses that work with the CNA and BT's have NO INPUT into job reviews or job performance evaluations for these employees.  At my place of employment, it is the administrators who leave the buildings at 4 PM and never step foot into a patient's room or have to work side by side the BT's and CNA's who provide all the job evals. 

                    What makes a good CNA or BT to them?  Somebody who does not complain or argue and is a "yes" person, and somebody who shows up for their job, even late.
                     
                    We were all dismayed at Terri Schiavo's situation.  If all the people who were outraged at Terri's feeding tube coming out were as outraged by the care provided for people with disabilities similar to Terri's then maybe things might have a chance at changing. 
                     
                    That's my 2 cents.
                    Kathy MN

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