After spending the minimum amount of time required for a stroke patient in the hospital, Elice's mom was sent home, and Elice was faced with a tough decision. "I could let her go to a nursing home, or I could take care of her." Elice went with door #2, and the hospital just went along with it. Apparently, you don't need a degree certificate to care for a disabled loved one. Hell, you don't even need a CPR class. Gumption, moxie, and just the right amount of crazy are all it takes to become medically responsible for an entire human being.
"No training, no lessons, no resources to learn more," says Elice. "It was, 'Here's the 15 medications she needs to take and the times she needs to take them.'" And her situation isn't exactly unusual. "I have a friend [who] gave birth to a child with a very severe genetic anomaly. This genetic disorder is so rare that most babies who develop it miscarry ... the hospital sent them home with equipment, two days of training, and a list of medications. Imagine the terror. You do it because you don't trust anyone else to do it."
Which brings us to the crux of the situation: Roughly one-third of all nursing homes were cited for violations in 2001. Surveys show an astounding 44 percent of the residents say they have been abused, while a terrifying 95 percent say they have been subjected to or have witnessed neglect. This is why Elice put her entire life on hold to make sure her mother wouldn't be put in the same position. Keep in mind that compromising by bringing somebody into the home to take care of them isn't without risk, either -- you still wind up with plenty of tales of neglect, medication theft, and plain old fraud, via billing for work they didn't do.