Does the person you know in the nursing home have hearing aids? Well, we all know how expensive it is to fix them. And we all know how they need to be cleaned daily (hopefully). Well.... didn't I get a surprise when my Gram kept telling me she was having problems hearing, more than usual. Yes, at 101 she is still articulate. Anyway, I can't understand why and I asked her if she had her batteries changed recently. She said she thought she did but wasn't sure. So I told her to go to the nurses station and ask someone to please change the batteries.
*Note*.. They requested I leave the batteries at the nurses station and they would change her batteries when needed. They don't check though! They only change the batteries if my Gram asks them to. Think about this, what if a person can't ask? What if a patient is very forgetful and doesn't request it? Is this just ignored. YOU BETCHA!! So, not only are they having to deal with the reason they are in there (sometimes it's younger folks with strokes that can't communicate well), but if they were hard of hearing and wear hearing aids they are out of luck unless they have one of the 'exceptional' nurses that thinks about it. I haven't come across one yet actually. Not that I'm aware of at least. Matter of fact, more about this later......
Back to this particular situation. My Gram goes over to the nurses station which happens to be right across from her room, so I wait in there. I hear her ask politely one of the nurses to please change her hearing aid batteries because she can't hear. I wait for her to come back to her room. And I wait, and I wait. Finally I'm wondering what the hell is taking so long and I go out and she's there, waiting at the nurses station and there is this nurse, with one of my Gram's hearing aids in her hand and a pair of scissors in the other hand digging like hell into my Gram's hearing aid!!!
I flew across the hallway and asked her what she was doing. She holds out her hand, puts the hearing aid in her palm and shows me. The jacket for the battery to sit in is broken. These things are little 'cases' you put the battery in and then close it. She didn't know what the hell she was doing and didn't bother asking anyone (she could have asked my Gram for that matter) and she stuck the new battery right into the hearing aid, not the 'battery case' so it jammed the case open. This is why she was digging into the hearing aid with scissors!!
Yes, I nearly pitched a fit. I grabbed the hearing aid off her and went into my Gram's room and explained to her that the nurse broke her hearing aid and I would have to take it in for repair. This meant she would be without one of her hearing aids for up to a week.
It was at this point she told me the other one wasn't working either!!!! I was flabbergasted and didn't know what to do Needless to say my Gram was upset but there was nothing I could do but apologize. I took the 2 hearing aids. Leaving my Gram without anything for the time being.
I went to the place that does her repairs and Tony told me that the nurse butchered that hearing aid. By jamming scissors into it like she did she broke all the contacts.
As for the other hearing aid that wasn't working even though there was a new battery in it now, it was flat out broken because they have obviously NEVER cleaned the damn things. It was so full of wax it was broken. Tony also mentioned that since this was the situation with the second hearing aid that I best have a wee talk with the doctor there as well at the nursing home because obviously no one is watching the wax situation in her ears and they must be so clogged it's a wonder she can hear anything even with a working hearing aid. He told me to tell the doctor there to put drops in her ears and clean them out.
Tony gave me that hearing aid back and suggested that I give it to my Gram while the one she really needed was being fixed. He said that psychologically it would be easier on her to 'think' she actually has a hearing aid in even though it would be of no help. I understood what he meant and I took her that aid back while the first one, the one she needed most and the one the nurse broke, went in for repair.
Now..... it would cost $160.00 PER hearing aid to fix these. Yes, $160.00 !!! EACH. Now I'm livid. I marched back to the nursing home and had it out with the head nurse there who announced that they actually don't have a policy to pay for damages like this. I let her have it there and then. I asked her how the hell can my Gram afford to get her hearing aids fixed thanks to their lack of knowledge and concern and the fact I stood there and watched one of their nurses break one? She just shrugged her shoulders. At that point I told her that she should do some math and figure it out. The gov't takes all but $113.00 a month of my Gram's old age pension for her to stay there. That $113.00 a month is what they call 'comfort money'. Some comfort. Out of that money she has to pay her phone, cable, if she wants something at the store, clothing if needed (boy, that's another story), etc. etc. Let me tell you something, $113.00 doesn't go far and now she is suppose to have enough money to pay $320.00 worth of repairs to her hearing aids thanks to their negligence??????
I told the head nurse they can pay for them! Finally in the long run, they did pay for one but one only. Just the one the nurse took the scissors to. The fact that they were negligent and never cleaned her hearing aids so the other one ended up broken too didn't matter to them. They weren't responsible. In the end, the repair for the second hearing aid came out of my Gram's money. Her paltry $113.00 a month minus what she needs and her bills.
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