Personality: Joanna Heiskill | Richmond Free Press

When Joanna Heiskill’s mother died in August 2019, she was determined to find the cause of her death.

Her mother’s final years were spent in a rehabilitation and health care facility in Richmond. Ms Heiskill concluded that the facility’s negligence and unwillingness to provide needed treatment contributed to her mother’s death.

Ms Heiskill filed an eight-page complaint form with the Virginia Department of Health’s Licensing and Certification Office that details issues with her mother’s care, but says nothing has been done. Several months later, she met other women who had gone through similar experiences at nursing facilities in Virginia. They started working on a solution to improve the system and the lives of residents.

“I lost my mother to abuse and neglect in a nursing home, and hearing the stories of others going through the same thing is unacceptable and needs to change,” Ms Heiskill says. “Every life matters. Quality of life matters.”

Ms. Heiskill’s desire to help others avoid what she experienced led her to create the non-profit organization Justice and Change for Victims of Nursing Facilities. As founder and president of the organization, she leads the group in its mission to see greater accountability for nursing and rehabilitation facilities statewide.

Since the organization was founded in July 2021, Ms Heiskill and others have worked to support families affected by the abuse of loved ones in rehabilitation centres. In addition to highlighting the challenges faced by families and residents, the group also seeks to establish outreach programs for facility residents. They have also brought their mission to the Virginia General Assembly by supporting bills focused on staffing and standards of care in rehabilitation and nursing facilities.

While criticism of many nursing and rehabilitation facilities has long been made public, the COVID-19 pandemic has made more people aware of the difficulties often faced by families and residents, Ms. Heskill says. She adds that although such issues have been consistently reported for years, there has been only limited improvement.

Despite what she sees as a lack of interest in addressing these issues, Ms. Heiskill is optimistic about her organization’s ability to end the abuse faced by many residents and their families.

“I think the louder we talk, the bolder we are and the more consistent we are, which will definitely affect change,” Ms Heiskill said. “We tell the locals all the time, ‘Don’t worry, justice and change are coming’.”

Meet an advocate for resident nursing and their families, Joanna Heiskill:

Volunteer position: Chair, Justice and Change for Victims of Nursing Facilities.

Date and place of birth: November 28 in Nassau, Bahamas.

Where I live now: Richmond.

Education: Attended high school and attended college in Nassau, Bahamas, and Ontario, Canada. Certificate in Biblical Studies, Faith Landmarks Bible Institute.

Occupation: Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; retired manager, administrative manager, Holiday Inn in Ashland.

Family: Husband, Willie Heiskill), eight children, eight grandchildren, one great-grandchild.

Justice and Change for Victims of Nursing Facilities is: A group united through tragedy, dedicated to building a community of trust and support where families experiencing nursing neglect can come together with the goal of raising awareness to bring change and accountability to the epidemic at faced by our elderly population in nursing care facilities.

Assignment: To be a voice for justice and change for those who are abused and neglected in nursing care settings, and to provide support to family members.

Founders: Joanna Heiskill, Tracy Pompey, Karen Clarke and Kelly Edwards.

When and why founded: July 9, 2021. Founded because each member of this organization has had the personal experience of losing a loved one directly to abuse and neglect in a nursing facility.

Currency: “We are their voice.”

I am personally passionate because: I lost my mother to abuse and neglect in a nursing facility, and hearing the stories of others going through the same thing is unacceptable and needs to change. Every life matters. Quality of life matters.

What are the different levels of nursing and rehabilitation facilities: The differences basically boil down to three main levels of care: intermediate care, skilled nursing, and rehabilitative care.

How to choose the right establishment: We suggest researching everything you can about the establishment, its history, complaints, etc. Online reviews and ratings are often unreliable. Come in and request a visit. Look for their annual survey report which should be posted for the public to see. Don’t be afraid to ask specific questions and take notes. For example, what is the staff-to-patient ratio? What is your staff turnover rate? Do you provide special care for people with dementia? Ask to see their meal menu.

Red flags to be aware of: Physical abuse (bruises, marks, cuts, wounds, broken bones), emotional abuse (changes in behavior or sleep patterns, depression, fear), financial abuse, lack of hygiene (soiled clothes, dirty hair, smell), lack of care medical devices, poor nutrition and dehydration, inability to get clear and truthful answers when asking questions.

The most alarming scenarios we discovered regarding nursing and rehabilitation facilities: Residents in desperate need of help and no one answers their call bell, left sitting unclean for long periods of time, ignoring cries for help, unattended bedsores, rough handling of residents, quality of the food served to residents, always short-staffed, except for the day when they have to be inspected. So there is a full squad! Many flagrant violations.

Government and nursing and rehabilitation facilities: Our government has largely turned its back on the suffering of nursing facility residents and turned a deaf ear to those who talk about it. Profit on lives must change.

Ways to report suspected violations: US Department of Health and Human Services, Virginia Adult Protective Services, Long Term Care Ombudsman, Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitation Services, Virginia Department of Health, local police departments.

Elder abuse is: Elder abuse by anyone is proof of a hardened heart, until the abuser himself becomes the abused elder.

The Importance of Advocacy in Nursing and Rehabilitation Facilities: Is essential to invoke responsibility. It sends the message that you are very careful and care.

The three main issues known to our organization: Critical staffing and management issues in nursing care facilities, family members are intimidated and afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation against loved ones in the facility (this happens whether you speak up or not) , our government values ​​profit over the life of the resident nursing facility so there is no accountability. Our elected officials should address this issue.

Steps we take to eradicate injustice: We have supported HB646 and HB330 (introduced at the 2022 Virginia General Assembly by delegates Betsy B. Carr and Vivian Watts) Respectively, we will continue to work in support of staffing standards in nursing care facilities . We support family members and loved ones, providing them with valuable information and contacts. We have implemented awareness programs for nursing facility residents and will continue to call on others to join this fight for justice and change.

Best ways to advocate for loved ones in nursing and rehabilitation facilities: Speak up and don’t be intimidated. Document everything! Ask for medical records regularly and make surprise visits as often as possible.

How lawyers seeking justice can volunteer with our organization: Contact: Joanna Heiskill at (804) 839-1833 or Tracy Pompey at (804) 252-7973, and email: [email protected]

Objective or project number one as president: Encourage and support those going through this experience to stand up for their loved ones. There is strength in numbers and a collective voice.

Strategy to achieve the objectives: Create programs to support nursing home residents and their families and create an avenue for family members to be heard.

Our biggest challenge: Getting more people to speak up, getting lawmakers to listen and do something to protect nursing home residents from abuse and neglect, and effectively save their lives.

How to get involved in Justice and Change for Victims of Nursing Facilities: Contact us at [email protected] or call (804) 839-1833 or (804) 252-7973

Ways we have influenced change since our inception: Our personal stories and encouragement to others; talk to our representatives; calling for justice, change and accountability; and provide real support to families. Nursing facilities know who we are and why we are here.

How I start the day: In prayer.

The three words that best describe me: Genuine, trustworthy, sincere.

Best late night snack: I don’t do late night snacks.

How I relax: Quiet time and music.

What I learned about myself during the pandemic: That my mother taught me well how to adapt in the midst of chaos.

Something I love to do that most people would never imagine: Draw, sketch, pottery.

A quote that inspires me the most: “If someone shows you who they are, believe them.” – Maya Angelou

Best thing my parents ever taught me: To keep the faith.

The person who influenced me the most: My mother.

Next goal: I’m working on it. This objective is not yet complete.

Source link

Comments are closed.