Goonan: Memory care in Delaware must be improved


My mother lived with dementia, and during her final years, she resided in several facilities. I trusted they could manage all aspects of her care. After she fell out of her wheelchair, I was told she was fine, only to witness her in tears because of abdominal pain. After many days and a false X-ray report, a trip to the emergency room revealed she'd fractured two vertebrae which control the abdominal muscles.

My mother was hospitalized for severe dehydration, a condition that damaged her kidneys. A few months later, she was hospitalized again for dehydration. No daughter wants to hear the words, “Please don't make me go back there,” from a parent. But I did, and it was heartbreaking.

The current system is in total disarray. Regulations need to be all-inclusive for facilities which offer memory care services. The Delaware Division of Health Care Quality must be staffed and trained to provide appropriate oversight. Unannounced inspections should be a matter of recourse to monitor the environment of care and patient treatment to ensure the safety of all residents.

The Alzheimer's Association; Sen. Spiros Mantzavinos, D-Elsmere; and advocates like myself strive to move forward Senate Bill 150. This legislation addresses long-term care facility operations by stating that any facility offering memory care services must adhere to specific training requirements and staffing guidelines. I'm asking legislators to vote yes on Senate Bill 150 for the protection of all of Delaware's most vulnerable residents.

Maggie Goonan


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