• LOCATION: Pennsylvania
  • AGE: 85
  • GENDER: F
  • LENGTH: One month
  • SOURCE: Other

As told by her son, William.

A diagnosis of C. diff played a major role in my mother’s demise.

She had been living independently in 2011 at age 85 when she broke her hip. After it was repaired in a way that allowed it to bear weight, she was sent to a nursing home for rehabilitation.

The nursing home turned out to be unsatisfactory, but on the day we were scheduled to move her to a better one, lab results came back showing she had C. diff, which required an isolation room. The transfer-destination nursing home then said they had no isolation rooms available and canceled the transfer. I eventually concluded it would be very difficult to have my mother transferred anywhere because of the C. diff.

Medicare paid $304 per person for a double-occupancy room, but only $330 for an isolation room. So a nursing home could lose $278 per day ($304 X 2 persons = $608, minus $330 (the rate for an isolation room) = $278) by isolating a C. diff patient in an otherwise potentially double-occupancy room.

As a result, my mother was trapped in the below-average two-star nursing home although a four-star home was only one mile away. The C. diff interfered with my mother’s ability to engage in physical therapy, such as walking between grab bars in the therapy room. After 21 days in the two-star home, she was sent to a hospital with multiple problems, and she died there ten days later.

The nursing home said the C. diff was caused by the hospital giving my mother antibiotics before discharge, but the C. diff was not diagnosed until my mother’s sixth day in the nursing home.

This is covered in my July 2017, 380-page book about government oversight of nursing homes, “Mary Regina’s Nursing Home,” https://www.wbeerman.com

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