The Montowese Health and Rehabilitation Center in North Haven, CT. website boasts:
“Our First Priority…Is You.” “Your Recovery Is Our Specialty.”
I am compelled to write this review of the Montowese Rehabilitation Center because I am appalled at the substandard care my good friend and next door neighbor received while a patient there and to warn others to take heed.
For several years, I worked at Yale New Haven Hospital in the Emergency Department. The staff and patient care delivered at Yale is of the highest professional standard. Everything that Yale New Haven Hospital patient care is, Montowese Rehab patient care is not.
My neighbor was transferred to Montowese Rehab from Yale New Haven Hospital in November 2014 following a car accident that resulted in a broken leg. Without daily visits from my wife and me and an urgent telephone call to the Medical Director, Dr. Bjorn Ringstad, I am certain that my neighbor would have died there due to inadequate care and neglect.
His deterioration over the course of his stay was staggering and this was a man who until the car accident, was healthy, full of life, took care of all of his own needs, lived at home, and was 100% independent.
The following is a list of observations and experiences my wife and I had while my neighbor was a patient at Montowese Rehab:
• When his mail and other personal belongings disappeared, little concern was expressed by staff and little to no efforts were made by staff to locate these items.
• When his dentures were lost or thrown out, never to be recovered. Again, little concern was expressed and little to no effort was made by staff to locate his dentures.
• Frequently, no water was available to him. Oftentimes upon daily visits, an empty water bottle or empty cup sat on his bed table. I repeatedly told staff that my neighbor had a history of becoming dehydrated and that insuring that he was taking fluids was critical to his recovery.
• Many times an open bottle of urine was on his bed table next to his food, both lunch and dinner.
• It took three requests over the course of three days to schedule him a haircut. The third request required insistence and then watching to insure that the appointment was entered into the appointment book.
• Daily physical therapy stopped without explanation and no one could answer why, despite numerous inquiries to numerous staff, including supervisory staff. Physical therapy then mysteriously returned.
• Throughout his entire stay, information regarding his status, what would be happening next and a short and long term plan was never thoroughly explained or discussed, despite numerous inquiries.
• In December 2014, when I called and asked to speak to the staff person in charge of the entire facility, I was forwarded to an APRN. After speaking to this APRN for approximately 15 minutes outlining my concerns and asking questions, she still didn’t know who I was talking about.
• On more than one occasion, when I entered my neighbor’s room for a visit, he was lying on his bed with his genitals exposed.
• On several visits, medication was on his bed table untaken. When I inquired to staff, no one took responsibility or seemed particularly concerned.
• Appointments were made for my neighbor to be seen by an orthopedic physician in Milford, requiring a medical chair car be scheduled for transportation. No staff took the initiative or responsibility to schedule transportation and subsequently appointments were missed.
• When my neighbor contracted Pneumonia during his stay, he continued to lay flat on his back all day, despite best medical practice that he be sitting up to support his breathing. When I asked about this, I was met with, “Oh yea, he shouldn’t be lying flat,” yet the following day he was again lying flat.
• My entire experience with the discharge planners was contemptible. The first time I asked the discharge planner, “What is the short and long term plan for my neighbor?”, I was met with an annoyed, impatient, dismissive, rude, abrupt, and unprofessional attitude and response. At subsequent times when I telephoned the discharge planner with a question, I was told I would be called back. No return telephone calls ever came. Furthermore, I inquired about and was told by the discharge planner that Veteran benefits would be explored, as my neighbor was in the military for 24 years. No inquiry was ever made to the Veteran’s Administration and when I asked, no explanation as to why was offered. Furthermore, when the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) nurse who had been periodically checking in on my neighbor prior to the car accident called to speak to the discharge planner regarding the discharge plan, the discharge planner hung up the telephone on her.
• In addition, in December 2014, I was told by the discharge planner that my neighbor would be discharged and returning home by Christmas. No plan was made for his return home and so he did not return home. When I asked why this plan had changed, I was given no explanation and again no one seemed particularly concerned or took responsibility for the change.
• Credit should be given where credit is due. Nurse Glenn Parisi was attentive, informed and professional in his care and interest of my neighbor. My wife and I thank Mr. Parisi for his efforts on behalf of my neighbor’s well-being during his stay at Montowese.
Unfortunately and alarmingly, with the exception of a few staff, the overall depth of staff incompetence and poor attitude that I encountered at Montowese Rehab was both disturbing and cause for significant concern. With few exceptions, both floor staff and supervisory staff were minimally aware or appeared disinterested in my neighbor’s recovery or well-being while a patient there. There was a lot of “Pass the buck” or “Someone will call you” or lackadaisical attitude toward my neighbor’s needs and recovery. Ongoing and more effective oversight into Montowese’s substandard practices and lack of best practices clearly is long overdue. Read some of the other reviews online. Clearly, the above outlined poor patient care practices at Montowese Rehabilitation in North Haven are not unique to my neighbor.
When my neighbor’s Medicaid ran out in February 2015, he was promptly discharged.
Three weeks later he was dead.