What is Care Crusade?
Care Crusade is a national campaign for family members with loved ones in healthcare facilities, seniors who are in healthcare facilities, consumers of all ages who have had a less than great hospital experience, and healthcare professionals who are also frustrated working with a broken healthcare system to join forces and make healthcare improvements so all consumers, families, and seniors can trust they will receive care by trained and compassionate workers.
Why did I start Care Crusade?
As a senior care planning concierge family consultant, patient advocate, national speaker, author, and daughter, I have spent 28 years advocating for seniors to receive proper healthcare and help families nation-wide, develop Aging Plans to avoid family caregiver burnout, renew relationships which became strained through the course of caregiving, help adult children caregivers get their lives back on track while ensuring Mom and Dad have the proper care, whether at home or in a care community, giving them the best possible quality of life.
When my dear, sweet mother with dementia needed more care than what we could provide at home, we moved her into a dementia care unit here in Bonita Springs, FL. She moved in just weeks before the pandemic hit. I was already feeling "red flags" about the staff's competence in caring for the dementia patients entrusted by families into their care but when the pandemic hit and residents lost their rights to family visits, professional advocates and ombudsmen were not deemed essential, Mom's care became even worse. Despite hundreds of hours of meetings with their "leadership" team, which was constantly changing, and advocating for her the best I could via window visits and phone calls, she was failing due to the incompetence and lack of compassion from her "caregivers". I was unable to find another facility to move her to because of Covid and many facilities were working short staffed and not taking new admissions. I was unable to afford to bring her home and bring in home care because by then, she had multiple skin breakdown areas and had specialized skin treatments. I filed a formal complaint with the State in June 2020, with documentation of my notes/emails with this facility's "leadership" team meetings and pictures of her skin breakdown that I received from the nurse doing her treatments. Because the State was only doing Covid infection control surveys and not complaint surveys, the complaint survey was not conducted until Feb 2021 (8 months) later. And devastatingly, my mother choked to death at this facility on June 12, 2021.
What is the goal of Care Crusade?
This Care Crusade is in honor of all seniors who are in or will be in healthcare centers, at the mercy of those employees who may or may not be trained properly, may lack the compassion one would hope a professional caregiver should have, in a care setting with such high turnover in leadership/management that it is the "wild wild west" in the facility. This Care Crusade is also for those healthcare professionals who do want to do what is right for their patients but are working in a culture that does not promote quality care. EVERYONE should be interested in this Crusade. Why? Because our healthcare system is woefully ill-prepared for the volume of seniors and patients who will be accessing hospitals and senior care settings. At some point, EVERYONE will need care. The time is NOW to lock arms and find solutions for better, compassionate, quality care and safety in these facilities and hospitals.
This is my experience in December 2019 in a local hospital.
Why the sunflower and the flag?
My Mom loved yellow, sunflowers and with being married to a veteran, she was always patriotic and supported our troops. I decorated her dementia unit room in yellow and sunflowers as well.