COLUMBUS, Ohio -- More families have reached out to 6 On Your Side with concerns about their loved ones in nursing homes.
Reva and Gerry Boocock say Reva’s mother, Ada, didn’t get the care she needed before she passed away in May 2017.
“She was always such a happy person,” said Reva Boocock.
Joyful memories of her mother have been overshadowed by heartache and guilt.
“It’s hard to even drive by some of these places because I think did I really do my best,” said Boocock.
Boocock says her mother lived and received medical care at Darby Glenn Nursing and Rehabilitation in Hilliard.
“She was always dehydrated but they can’t tell you when they have Alzheimer’s or Dementia that I want a drink of water so I’m still haunted by it,” said Boocock.
The Boococks say Ada would have cuts and bruises. Reva’s sister filed a police report alleging an assault.
“One of the aides that had been there for a while was getting my mom ready for bed and stuffed a shirt sleeve down her mouth to keep her from yelling or crying,” said Boocock.
Hilliard police investigated.
A police report states there was no physical evidence and charges weren’t pursued.
In the report, a statement by an employee indicated she did not intend to cause harm to Ada.
It also states a form Darby Glenn submitted to the Ohio Department of Health, shows inconclusive evidence but also that abuse, neglect or misappropriation was suspected. The facility fired an employee involved.
Darby Glenn’s administrator says he wasn’t in charge then and declined comment.
“Went to the Department of Aging. They couldn’t help her she’d have to call the ombudsman several occasions we called the ombudsman nothing happened,” said Boocock.
The Boococks say Darby Glenn had a 5-star rating but it lacked in training and compassion.
“We felt sorry for the people that we would try to take care of them,” said Boocock.
6 On Your Side Investigates got a first-hand look at a 5-star.
“This is the town square we call it,” said Kendra German.
Kendra German is our tour guide at Riverview Healthcare Campus near Port Clinton.
She’s the administrator at the facility and German answers to Ottawa County.
“We are owned by the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners. We do not have a corporation above us so for us that means our staff has to be very knowledgeable in what they do,” said German.
Ohio State Representative Steve Arndt says Riverview had its dark days.
“This facility actually lost its Medicaid Medicare certification one time because they did not make the necessary corrections,” said Arndt.
Arndt was an Ottawa County commissioner for nearly 30 years. He says Riverview got its act together to be an asset to Ottawa.
“It was changing the culture within the building. It’s not just the administrator. The administrator can help set the tone by making sure they get the right people in the building that it’s their calling,” said Arndt.
Now, Arndt chairs the standing committee for Aging and Long-Term Care.
For him, it’s personal. His mother had dementia.
“When I had to place my mother in a skilled facility my mom was one of those the sweetest lady but also became one of those the most agitated,” said Arndt.
Arndt proposed a bill this general assembly to require dementia training for long-term caregivers.
“It’s a whole different area of care we have to ramp up and be prepared for and not every facility for us that has expertise,” said Arndt.
German admits finding the right people to have on her staff is hard.
But knowing the community is the watchdog helps keep them accountable.
“Doing what’s right not just when a surveyor is in the building but consistently to it’s your practice,” said German.
The kind of experience Reva and Gerry say Ada should have had.
“Something has to be done for the elderly. It breaks your heart and no one seems to care,” said Boocock.
The Ohio Department of Aging says ombudsman work on about 10,000 complaints statewide each year in an advocacy role. They also do satisfaction surveys.