LEXINGTON PARK, Md. — Ashley Milburn wants help for her 61-year-old father. She says she’s met with dead ends trying to get help for the Navy veteran who was left disabled by a recent stroke, so she’s taken her pleas for help to social media.

Her emotional Facebook video runs almost 6 minutes. It details the difficulties her family has encountered with the Chesapeake Shores nursing home in Lexington Park where her father is a resident.

She questions the level of care Johnny Martin has received. Martin suffered a stroke back in August. The incident left him paralyzed on his right side and impaired his speech. He’s been at Chesapeake Shores since October.  To quote Milburn, “It has been a nightmare.”

No Communication

While she raised concerns about her father falling and being left in the same clothes for days on end, her major complaint it communication. “They don’t update you like they should. They changed rooms three times. We never knew. We were still trying to call him. Never knew the phone number changed.”

The family was able to video chat using his cellphone until it broke. She said they called his room for a week and the phone rang and rang. They discovered there was no land line in his room until they purchased one.

Due to COVID restrictions, the family was not able to be with him in person. They decided to bring him home and care for him there, but COVID-19 stalled that plan.  Martin was originally supposed to come home on December 1.

His roommate tested positive for COVID-19. Milburn said that instead of isolating her father, the nursing home moved him into a room with another patient whose roommate had tested positive for the virus.  Martin tested positive for COVID-19 on November 29.  “Days before that, we knew he had it. We called him and he was gasping for air. Now we’re being told that he won’t be retested for 90 days.”

Signature HealthCARE, the parent company of Chesapeake Shores had this response, “… communication with our residents and their responsible parties is also of the utmost importance to keep them updated and informed. In addition to personal communication about individual family members with their responsible parties, a family hotline is also available to provide updated information to our residents’ responsible parties. Many families and stakeholders have responded positively in relation to our efforts.

As we cannot discuss any specifics or personal data relating to a specific case, we can say that, per our company policy, which follows state and federal guidelines, we only communicate with a resident’s listed responsible party about personal information of care, condition and activities.

Often times, family members who are not listed as the responsible party become upset as they believe they should have been called, notified, or informed about specific information concerning their loved one.  Again, per policy and regulation, we can only notify the responsible party.  It is up to the responsible party as to whether they choose to tell other family members or how they inform other family members. Ms. Ashley Milburn, who is highlighted in your article, is not listed as a responsible party in our records.”

I Want The Right Person To See This Video

Milburn said she is desperate to bring her father home and doesn’t know where to turn for help.  “I contacted the ombudsman twice today with no answer or reply.”  She also contacted the Department of Health. She said they told her that testing policies are up to the individual nursing home.“

After contacting her father’s social worker multiple times, Milburn said her mother just heard back.  “My mother told her when he is symptom free, she wants him discharged and she just said she will try to get a date from the nurses when he will be able to go to the non-COVID side.”

At this point, Milburn said all she wants to do is bring her father home. She said that other families have also contacted her to say they have similar problems with the nursing facility. “It has literally been the worst time with him being there. I just want the right person to see this video and please investigate this place. There’s stuff going on that should not be going on.”

Signature HealthCARE went on to say that they sympathize with Milburn’s concerns.

“Signature HealthCARE’s Chesapeake Shores facility understands these are very difficult times for our residents and their families. Our Chesapeake Shores facility is a family full of compassionate and fiercely dedicated staff who create close bonds with their residents and who continue to work diligently to fight this pandemic, even in times of greatly increased cases and exposures within the Chesapeake community. We do this with aggressive testing and proactive and preventative protocols outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Maryland Department of Health.

As per Signature HealthCARE’s policy, and as we are a healthcare system that encompasses rehabilitation as well as long-term care and skilled nursing, our strict and diligent care of our residents who have suffered a stroke includes, a strict fall plan, including physical and occupational therapy to help strengthen our residents for their protection, so they can successfully and safely return home after treatment, if possible.

With the virulence of this virus, in many of our facilities, if there a resident who has experienced a possible exposure to COVID-19, but has not tested positive, they are put in droplet isolation. As they have not tested positive, this is a process to keep them isolated and monitored. If they test positive, they are moved to the facility’s or a sister facility’s COVID-19 Only Care Unit or to a partnering hospital with a COVID-19 Unit. Once a resident recovers, and tests negative, they are returned to the non-COVID wing of our facility. In regard to retesting our residents, CMS COVID guidelines instruct not to retest until after 90 days if a person has had COVID.

For Signature HealthCARE and our facilities, when a resident is able to successfully and safely return home, it is a celebration for us! At discharge, our Care Plan Team assesses our residents and keeps in communication with the responsible party, to ensure their loved one is in good health, standing, and improved condition to successfully return home.

Finally, while we know that the recommended CDC and state guidelines for visitation can limit families from seeing their loved ones. We know this is very difficult for all involved.  However, we continue to keep our residents engaged and their families connected by using many other forms of communication which include iPads, iPhones, FaceTime, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Telehealth, as well as window visits and the mailing of cards and letters.”