Phyllis Tucker’s aunt is an Alzheimer’s patient at BHRC. She said her aunt does not receive the same quality of care as she did in Wing 3. The center’s board members listened to Tucker’s concerns in a monthly session earlier this week.
“The care they are getting now is not the same amount of care they received at the Alzheimer’s unit,” Tucker said. “I know you are receiving the same amount of patients, but they are not receiving the same amount of care.”
John Stanbery, board chairman, said there is no difference in staffing for the patients previously in Wing 3.
Tucker insisted the level of care had diminished since the transformation. She said her aunt is just one of the patients she is concerned about. According to Tucker, her aunt’s nurse said Tucker’s aunt is on a two-hour schedule.
Continued Tucker, “She is sitting in her own urine and that breaks the skin down. Anybody knows that. She has been here for three years and has not had a single bed sore.”
Photographs were presented to the board by Tucker of her aunt’s soiled clothes.
“I was very, very pleased with the care she received in Wing 3. Very pleased,” Tucker said. “As you can see, these are different days— different colored clothes. She is soaking wet.”
Sandra Snider, board member, responded to Tucker’s concern.
“They are on a two-hour change, but if they are found to be wet or they need a change, they do not have to wait two hours,” Snider said. “They cannot keep everyone dry all the time. You can change them and then they can wet as soon as [the workers] walk out of the room.”
Tucker said she is willing to bring 50 diapers a day if that is what is needed to keep her aunt comfortable.
Stanbery assured Tucker the residents are not treated any differently from one wing to the next.
“We will be glad to look into that, but it is hard for me to imagine the same staff who are taking care of everyone in this facility would treat one group of patients completely different from another,” Stanbery said.
He said the only change was made from a secure wing to a rehabilitation center. According to Stanbery, as few alterations as possible were made to the patients from Wing 3, apart from the move.
Bill Winters, Bradley County Commission representative, said the switch had to be made in Wing 3.
“This was a financial situation. In some ways, we could not maintain what he had. It was not the best way to maximize our funds. It was a challenge,” Winters said. “We are trying to keep the same quality.”
He said they would work on the situation with Tucker’s aunt.
Tucker said care for her aunt had increased in the three days prior to the board meeting. She said there are still concerns.
Dennis Burtnett, administrator, said the situation would be monitored closely.
In other BHRC news, Burtnett said nine staff positions have been dissolved through attrition. He was very adamant in saying cuts played no part in the staff decrease. No one at Bradley Healthcare is losing their job, Burtnett said.
“We are looking at the cost savings of about $545,000,” Burtnett said.
Total savings are made up of the decrease in staffing and a decrease in employees’ annual increase.
“Most organizations offer anywhere from 1 to 3 percent increase annually upon the employee’s anniversary,” Burtnett said. “We have always given 3 percent. What we are doing is cutting it back to 1 percent for the next year.”
The annual increase change amounts for $145,000 of the $545,000 in cost savings.
Sandy Brock, controller/HR director, said staff kept expenses down well in January.
Recent changes have been made and are continuing to be made so BHRC can perform competitively in the changing nursing home world. Programs like TennCare’s CHOICES encourage people to receive care at home, instead of institutional care, Burtnett said.
Winters offered his congratulations to Stanbery on his presentation to the Bradley County Commission recently.
“Compliments to the chair for your presentation to the Commission you were called to 15 minutes before it began,” Winters said. “You did an exceptional job representing the situation and how the board decided upon what we are trying to do. I did not think it could have been presented better.”