Scared family removing 81-year-old from senior facility

PUYALLUP, Wash. — Joe Black said his mother, Margie, had an episode that required medical attention on Sunday at Clare Bridge in Puyallup.

And, much like in a 911 call that was heard round the country where a 911 dispatcher in California pleading with an employee at a Brookdale Senior Living center to give CPR to a dying resident, Black doesn’t know what the nurses did to help his mother.

“You’re not getting what you’re paying for,” Black said. “It’s really sad what they’re doing, and I’m not happy. The family’s not happy.”

aBrookdale Senior Living owns and operates several facilities in Washington state, including Clare Bridge in Puyallup. Black’s 81-year-old mother was there Sunday afternoon when she started showing symptoms of a minor heart attack. Employees called 911. But outside of that, Black said not much was done.

After this close call, and the incident in California,Black is worried about losing his mother to inaction among nurses.

“The daughter of the lady in California didn’t want her resuscitated anyway but we do,” Black said. “So, if she ups and dies that’s going to make us very upset.”

The family has decided to pull Margie from Clare Bridge.

In a statement issued by Brookdale, a spokesperson, “We are conducting a company-wide review of our policies involving emergency medical care across all of our communities.”

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21 comments

  • Anonymous

    All I can say is I don't blame any family for taking there loved one out of this facility! This place is under paid, over worked, severely understaffed. Most RA's or CNA's have no compassion for the residents and are just plain rude! As for the front staff most of them don't care about your loved ones, they are just looking to fill open rooms for $$$$$. It is all about the money to them. For as much as they pay, they deserve the BEST care. Most every resident at this place looks like the are homeless. Hair never brushed , mis-matched socks ( if any at all), constantly food on clothes or walking around with wet pants. Smells horrible, the list could go on and on.

  • anonymous

    I used to work at this facility a few years ago…and this place I will agree does NOT do much if your loved one needs medical attention…I had a resident that kept having strokes and they pretty much flat out refused to call 911..I was PISSED when they finally did agree he didn't have much of a surviving chance..he passed away at the hospital. Like the anonymous person above me says the RA/CNA's are WAY overworked and alot of times understaffed. The resident care if pretty poor..there are things that could be improved..but the front end staff really is just worried about getting the beds occupied for their bonus..I do not blame Joe Black for taking his mother out…actually happy he did..will be one of the best decisions he ever made

  • bob smith

    I'm just curious…Was mom was having signs of a heart attack? Or was she having a full on heart attack? We all know you're only supposed to perform CPR on somebody without a pulse. Calling for medics seems like the right call to me. When they arrived did they start CPR?
    One more thing….Does Joe look like he had a few too many drinks before the interview? I'm thinking he may not be the best person to be keeping an eye on a dementia patient.

  • anonymous

    The problem is the state of washington. The right to rot state. Visit any place and you find theses things, if not worse. The state needs to inspect, regulate, and have criteria to hire someone. I agree the employees are way underpaid, undesireable at times. and it is a difficult job. On top of the attitude of "they have dementia" so they wander the halls, lose their things, sit and wait an hour for food to be served for meals. The front cruw running the " pretty show" the back crew, a disaster. pretty doesn't mean quality care. read your contracts. you might as well have them at home, you will still be doing most of the work. sadly, most people do not visit their elderly to see how things are.

  • Anonymous

    I am also an ex-employee who worked at this location. I was just waiting for this day to come where they were exposed.
    I have been a NAR for the past 6 years and love what I do. I also take great pride in the care that I provide and strive to give every resident my upmost 100% best care. And the quality of my work shows in the apperance and happiness of my residents.
    With that said, I was employed at this community for 1 1/2 years. They do hire anyone, experiance prefurred but not required. So, there were people hired who were good, but there were many that were hired who were not. As one of their trainers, I could tell right off the bad who was there because they cared and who was there just for a paycheck. It would take a long time to get them weeded out.
    The work there is VERY hard! And the pay is minimum wage. I started at $9.10 an hour, and after being there a year got a 8cent raise. I was lucky to get that because most only recieved a 2 to 4cent raise.
    I enjoyed my residents and the floor staff that I worked with. The front end staff is horrible! Overtime was NOT allowed no matter how understaffed we were (overtime = no bonus for front end staff). As a resault of that, the care and apperance of our residents would be affected on those days. If there were empty rooms, they would cut back on staff hours. Yes, keeping rooms full is good for the floor staff hours, but it was also important for those front end staff bonuses. They will sit you down and tell you how wonderful the place is and everything that your loved one will be provided just to get you to sign the paperwork.
    As one of the few good workers, when we came upon a problem whether it be medical or something a resident needed, we would have to go to the front office nurse to notify her. We would be told, '' ok dear, I'll work on it.'' NOTHING ever got done no matter how many times we apporched her with our concerns…untill it was too late and tht resident either passed away in facility ( hospice comfort kits were never used to keep passing residents comfortable in their end days…which made me livid), or once they were finally sent out they ended passing in the hospital.
    I finally had enough. I tried my hardest to provide great care for these residents, but it is a TEAM effort! And if the WHOLE TEAM is not in it there will always be a lapes in care. I had to leave that facility for those reasons.

  • Anonymous

    I to as an ex-employee completely agree with all of the above. I have seen staff (not even CNA's) have to step into the nurses spot ,because no nurses were on duty. My care for the residents was never based on my minimum wage pay. I put my whole heart into this job. I absolutely loved every single resident there. They never asked to be place here let alone treated like SHIT from other caregiver and staff! Two many things have gone un-noticed at this facility such as, having to use the finger tips rubber gloves to crush up medication for residents. Residents meals skipped not by choice, but by RA's to lazy to get them out of there room or out of bed to do so. Shower skipped numerous days in a row that are suppose to be given to residents. At one point and time we were out of gloves for a good few days, we were asked to wash and re-use the gloves we had and to use them sparingly when changing residents. Pads that in resident wheel chairs flipped over when they had been soaked by urine, residents depends not getting changed for a complete shift, residents with same clothes on for days at a time. The only time this place would be in good working order is when the state was coming, they would over staff the place and try to put on a wonderful show for them!The list can go on and on! As stated above the management is absolutely horrible at this facility I don't blame anyone at any point in time taking there loved ones out of here. I would never put anyone I loved here, not even a sick dying possum!!

  • Roy

    Really people?!! I have visited many of these facilities and yes, just like any other business employing people, you will have your good and bad. It is a good place to take your loved ones. Many poeple (family members) that I have talked to say that they are thankful for this place. They need a place like this because most people cannot do it on their own. Like I said before, there are good and bad employees in any business, but it takes special people to work with the residents in this type of building. And that is exactly what you have working here, special people who care about your family member. The people who are bashing this place probably got fired for doing something wrong or quit because they could not handle what the job requires. Everyone has a choice. If the people working here think they are not being paid enough, it wouldn’t be difficult for them to move on. They stay because they like helping your family member who needs them. You finally got a chance to vent in public about losing your job from this place. Hopefully you feel better about yourself and can now move on. Let it go! As far as I am concerned, the employees who work here including the management are wonderful and caring.

    • Anonymous

      Nope, not fired at all. And I do agree with you, Roy, that there are some great employees currently there…I am still great friends with many of them. I also agree with you that there is a need for places like these. And things are good , for the most part, until things come up that need to be addressed.For the outside person or family member, sure things are going to seem wonderful. It is part of our job to do that. But there are a lot of things that happen behind the scense that just isn't right when it comes to the care of the elderly. The head nurse there doesn't want to be there. She confided in many of us "long-time" employees that she felt that way. That place went through 8 floor nurses while I was there because they couldn't deal with the head nurse. and I have worked in harder facilities, so it's not a matter of not being able to do what the job required lol.

  • Morgan Reis

    Wow! I am appalled. First of all, for those former employees who have posted complaints….shame on you. Shame on you for not having enough guts to publish your name. If what you are saying has any truth at all, you should have no problem signing your name to those statements. Secondly, if those statements do hold truth, and you know anything about working with seniors, you know that you are “Mandated Reporters” mandated by law to report cases of potential abuse to the State….failure to do so, can cost you your license or certification. Clearly, the claims you are making against the facility sound like alleged abuse. Shame on you for not following the law. Finally, no one goes into health care for the money…..not the frontline staff, not the administration and not even the owners. There are so many easier ways to make money. Caring for the elderly is a calling, a mission. Do facilities have unlimited money and resources to care for the residents? Certainly not, but facilities do their best to provide the highest quality of life available to their seniors. I am not going to pretend I know even one piece of factual information about this resident or this facility, because very few people have the actual facts, however, if you have ever tried to care for a family member with dementia or Alzheimer’s at home you will agree that it a nearly impossible job. Impossible because your loved one may be up all night, leave the water running, turn on the stove, or walk out the front door and get lost in the freezing cold. I wish the son the very best in his endeavors to take care of his mom on his own….maybe his point of view will be different once he attempts to provide all of the necessary care his mom needs. He will certainly not be able to find a facility even remotely willing to take his mom as a resident in the future now that he has bashed the entire senior care community. What facility would want to take the risk?

    • anonymous

      Morgon, have you had a loved one in a facility> Did you visit often, stay during meals, spend the evening visiting for more then an hour, and watch? This, and many facilities are on the high end of quality care, but sadly it is not ideal care. i can't care for my loved one alone so have to have them cared for in a facility i won't name, it's not necessary. i have found fallen patients with no staff around in the evening as there are few. i have sat for meals that took an hour and a half before the food was served with 40 plus patients waiting, confused. i've seen a woman with her face in her plate while the staff walked by several times. i've seen my loved one in the same clothes for three days. i've reported illness to them before they were aware and had to go back to check myself if sheets were changed from vomit, they weren't. when the employees trust you enough all the complaints above are talked about. They do their best, but their best in this state is not good enough. you are correct. it is nearly an impossible job. one on one with your own loved one. but it also an impossible job 50 to six and it is not acceptable . Shame on them for paying minimum wage and expecting six people to care for 50 patients properly. it doesn't happen. This state needs to plant "family" members in these facilities and watch. is it criminal> no. is it abusive, no. but is the care good, at times and situational..the rest of the time, its just plain sad.

      • Morgan Reis

        Yes, I have had both parents in extended care facilities, in fact one of the facilities was managed by the Director of Clarebridge and I was extremely satisfied with the care and kindness they both received. My father had dementia and so I am intimately familiar with the care needs he required. I could have never been able to provide those care needs on my own…even if I didn’t have a job and small children to care for. Not only have I spent many days and nights at the facilities my parents resided in, I have also worked in a variety of facilities. I am not quite sure why people blame Washington State for issues in care centers as I can truly say from experience that the facilities in Washington overall are better than many others in the country. It really takes a village to care for our elderly, if you think that dropping mom and dad off at the facility and expecting all of their needs will be met…you are as negligent as you think the facility may be. The only way a facility can do their job is with the resident’s families active participation. I don’t think the state needs to plant family members….family members should be encouraged to call the State Hotline, the phone number is clearly posted in all facilities, whenever they have a care concern that they do not feel is being addressed by the facility. In addition, the State Surveyors seek family members out when they are inspecting facilities and ask them questions about care and staffing levels.

  • anonymous

    I have had a family member in care for months. this facility and others. I'm a caring person to anyone and honor any one in this line of work. however, with the amount of time, and facilities i've seen i must say, i've seen first hand from the outside world nearly every complaint the ex employees state. it is a sad sad realization. i can only recommend to anyone with family to spend alot of time there. or where ever they have their loved one. alot of time… Also, the state umbudsman ( sp) is important. they are very helpful and important. i'm told this facility doesn't have one at this time. but they are there, for the patients. to make sure quality care is given. pulling your loved one out is anyone's choice if they are unhappy. but this state needs to care for our elderly. and ensure proper care in these facilities, past the front office and the fluff.

  • Eileen

    As a daughter who is "shopping" for a place for my mom I think it is only fair to point out some facts that have been left out when looking at these facilities. NO ONE will take better care of my mother than me, and I will never get one to one care for her if placed in a facility. There will be times when she waits for meals, isn't toileted frequently enough, and wears the same clothes day after day, as well as absolutely refusing to shower. These are things that happen routinely while she is in MY care! Facilities are state regulated. Ask the facility to see their most recent survey. It lists citations, then ask them how they fixed it. Had I not already been to this facility I would not have visited them with this kind of press. However, my homework was done months ago and it was one of the top few I considered. Compared to other places other than adult family homes it was smaller and had a homey intimate setting. They have had state surveys with no citations, which is rare. They have information posted for state complaint hotlines, state ombudsmen, and their own companies help line. My mother is a fall risk, so I asked how they would ensure that she wouldn't fall. I was educated that restraining patients is against the law. No seatbelt s in wheelchairs or bed rails on their beds. Basically, falls happen. Dementia is a horrible disease, and I have yet to find a place that can bubble wrap my mother and prevent any injury or harm from her. But she also has behaviors from her disease that I can no longer manage on my own. When I consider the behaviors that this disease have with my mom, and I multiply it by fifty patients and divide by never enough aids its common sense that there will be holes in the care. I have a HIGH appreciation for those that care for our loved ones and a little appreciation shown for the things they are doing RIGHT goes a lot farther than constant complaints about the shortcomings. Minimum wage??? Appalling. I'm adding that question to my interviewing of facilities. My mothers care is priceless, but certainly the high cost of monthly room and board should pay those on the front line more than our states minimum requirement.

  • Personal Friend

    Ok folks, lets get to the basics facts here.
    1.There are reasons why people are ex-employees, usually for not being team players and going above the basic bare bones requirements for the job, so as far as all the comments from the ex employees, unless you live in a glass house don't cast the first stone.
    2. I personally know five of the current employees on the "front end" staff and most of them for over 10 years, they are full of compassion, love, concern and the well being of each of the residents. I know their heart and how they work. I have worked along side these folks and have seen the detail orientation that they have. They are all about justice and integrity. They will do what is right. I have seen them interact with the residents and how they make sure all their needs are met. They all have have highly detailed jobs. These folks are there for the right reasons, not about money.
    3. Now lets talk about this journalism or better yet whoever alerted the press to this issue. All they did was make a small event in a huge debacle! Way to go to bring yet more depressing news to an already difficult world. Shame on the department or person who called the news, the staff did the right thing and called 911 they watched the resident and were with her the entire time until the paramedics got there. You should stop rushing to the scene to cause a bigger one. This report had the potential to be very damaging to all parties but by the grace of God is not. The main focus should have been how is the patient doing now not the dust on the plant in the corner. Get a grip people.

    • Curious

      Has anyone followed up to see how the patient is, or WHERE she is? Or IF the family is able to care for her special needs? There's a lot more to this I'm sure.

  • Trish.Sperberg

    I wish Joe good luck in trying to take of his mother. Brookdale specializes in taking care of dementia and alzheimer’s patients. I’m guessing he has no idea what he has just signed up for.
    My dad lived in Clare Bridge in Bend, OR for at least a couple of years as an Alzheimer’s patient. While Dad was still of sound mind, he specifically signed a Do Not Recesitate form. He never wanted to have his life prolonged from such a horrible disease. These diseases steal so much from the patient and family. They become someone unrecognizable as the disease progresses. It is near impossible to properly take of these patients by oneself. Clare Bridge was phenomenal taking care of him all the way to the end. The staff bent over backwards to help him and our family. I was so grateful for their kindness particularly during the last days of his life.
    I know the Director of the Clare Bridge in Puyallup personally and she is the most compassionate person I know. She was a great resource to me, especially at the tail end of my Dad’s life.
    There are always two sides to a story. People are always so quick to judge what the media crams down their throats.

  • Joanne Smith

    Having worked approx.'ly 5 years in dementia communities & another 10+ years in skilled nursing I can assure you that we are trained professionals that do our job for only one reason & that is the concern & compassion we have for our fellow man. I agree with those who stated their question of whether this dear lady had truly suffered a heart attack (can't give CPR to someone breathing). My personal knowledge of some of the staff who work at the Puyallup building is one of high integrity & concern for the residents they have in their care. As far as the news reports we hear lately they are embellished to make ratings. Don't judge until you know ALL the facts. If you really want to know the truth about a building take a tour & do it during a mealtime.

  • Anon

    Most people fail to understand that this place is NOT a nursing home. It is an assisted living facility and there is a VAST difference between the two. Supposedly the folks that are placed here only need minor assistance. There are residents here that NEED to be in a nursing home, but the families wont place them where they belong. I have a family member that is a CNA there, I have visited many times and it is always clean and I have never seen a resident not getting the care they need. People also need to understand that THIS facility is NOT the one in California that didn't perform CPR on a resident. People really need to get the FACTS before they write a story or comment on one.

  • Bystander

    You only preform CPR when they have no pulse. And when the paramedics got there her pulse was normal, plus she has a DNR. Just so you know.

  • Local

    And the original story was from CALIFORNIA. If you listen closely to the interview there is NOTHING that ties this local story to that situation. Very poor journalism, must have been a slow day at the office.