Assisted Living Facility Question

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Posts: 2
Joined: 2018-09-07 23:06:24

Re: Assisted Living Facility Question

Post by ileodaughter »

In November of 2017 my 83 yr old mother and I toured several senior living facilities in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She's had her ileostomy since 2009. We visited the Village at Northrise, looking at senior apartments in the independent living building. Northrise has three levels of care: an independent living building, an assisted living building, and an advanced care/memory care building. The idea is that the residents can move up to increased care levels over time as needed. During the tour my mother mentioned to the director of admissions that she has an ileostomy. (It never occurred to us this would create a problem, and she was looking at bathroom storage.) My mother wanted to move there; the apartments were nice, with small kitchens, and they allowed pets.

Weeks later I called back to schedule another visit with my husband to obtain a copy of the lease. The director didn't return my call for 10 days. We finally visited and discussed the various levels of care that would be available for future needs. I mentioned my mother's ileostomy, and said I wanted to be sure if she ever moved to the assisted living building, they could help empty her pouch, if she was too ill to do so herself. The director said no, they could not, because that would require staff to handle a bodily fluid, and it was against state law. I was completely confused. I asked her how it was different from incontinence care, and she said it was just the law.

We went home, and I couldn't find anything on the internet about a state law regarding ostomy patient care, so I called her back. She said again that they could not assist with pouch care at all, "it was against the law." I asked how this was possible, since no hospital had ever refused to have anyone empty my mother's pouch during hospital stays. I asked if she could help me find the law, online. She could not. I asked her how my mother could get help with ostomy care in the Village at Northrise facility, if she lived there, and she said I could hire home health care. (Of course that's not possible; home health care can't visit daily, or often enough to empty a pouch day and night.)

She also said that they couldn't provide ostomy assistance for my mother, even if she was moved into the advanced/memory care building. Then she reconsidered, and said possibly they could "get around the law if your mother had dementia, because then we could tell the state that she couldn't do it herself." Finally she said she'd talk to her supervisor, to see if they could arrange to provide the service for an additional fee, at either the assisted living or advanced/memory care level, and what it would cost.

Because of her tone, I wasn't surprised that she never called back. By then I knew, of course, it was an unsafe place for my mother. I had to tell her why she couldn't move to the place she'd chosen. It was very upsetting to her, and to my family. We moved her to another independent living facility that does not have varying levels of care, but they have an independent home assistance company on site. I've met with the owner, and they assure me that I can hire them for ostomy care assistance if she ever needs it.

I also called a local ostomy nurse, and she wasn't aware of anyone having this experience before with The Village at Northrise, or other local facilities, and wasn't aware of any state regulation. She was kind enough to call a national ostomy association for more information (possibly UOAA, I'm not sure) was told this is a growing concern for the association, across the country.

I just found this post this evening, and it's the first indication I've had that such a state regulation really exists in our state. Is it possible for me to read the regulation online, or can you message me to let me know where I might read it? Thank you so much for posting this; you've solved a mystery for me about what this director was talking about.
Posts: 14
Joined: 2017-01-24 11:39:40

Re: Assisted Living Facility Question

Post by UOAA-AdvocacyManager »

You and I are emailing offline with Sue Mueller on the Advocacy Committee who lives in your state.
Posts: 2
Joined: 2018-09-07 23:06:24

Re: Assisted Living Facility Question

Post by ileodaughter »

I really appreciate your help in connecting me with Sue Mueller at the Ostomy Association of Albuquerque.

Just in case anyone else from New Mexico finds this topic, I'll post the link that you and Sue helped me find, with the specifics of the actual regulation in my state:

It's not good news to know that this regulation may restrict assisted living facility options for ostomates, but it's very helpful to know the specifics. Having this knowledge in advance may let families do research about the policies of individual facilities, so they have a better chance of finding the right fit for a family member. Thanks so much for posting this topic to the forum; it was a big help!
Posts: 5
Joined: 2021-08-27 16:25:07

Re: Assisted Living Facility Question

Post by kaarinademers1 »

Wow! My sister and I are just starting our search for assisted living homes for our parents. This is definitely a question to ask.
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