My wife asked me to send her the phone numbers I had for the hospital, because she wanted to attempt to speak to my mother. Here is the email I sent her:
Dear [name redacted],
The “common room” is the day room where mom can talk on the phone. She’s almost never there by default, and you’re just as likely to get a crazy random person answering the phone as you are to get a nurse or tech. You have to make sure to ask to whom you’re speaking first. A nurse or a tech will say, “I am a nurse,” or, “I am a tech.” Then you can ask to speak with Kathleen Gagne. (Nobody knows her as “Kathie” there and they will just get confused if you call her that.) They’ll tell you she’s in her room or that they’ll go get her. Then you usually wait five or ten minutes and the line goes dead. Every now and then you will be able to talk to mom, but usually you have to move to the second number, the 4080 one. That’s *not* the Nurses’ Station, although that’s what I was told it was. That’s more like a general operator for the psych ward. Someone there is always very nice and helpful, until about 3:30pm (PT) when they convert to asshole mode. Julie is on shift today and she is very, very nice. Unfortunately she can’t leave her desk, so all she can do is try to call directly to the nurses’ station and get you one of the nurses, who are generally more reliable than the techs (or whatever random answers the phone in the common room).
The third number is for Connie Wade, the social worker assigned to mom’s case.
Oh, and, finally, I think that they might not have you listed as allowed to talk to mom at Halifax. I’ll try to make sure, but I haven’t been able to talk to anyone competent to do that today. (Julie is very nice, but not the best at follow-through.)
This morning I called Connie and left a message asking for her to call me. (Julie later told me that Connie is in meetings all morning.)
Then I called the common room line and it simply rang and rang about twenty times, so I hung up and called the operator (the 4080 line) and talked to Julie. I explained that my mom, Kathleen Gagne, is in Unit A (which is inexplicably also sometimes called the “2500 Unit”) and that nobody was answering the common room line. Julie asked me to hang on and said she would get a tech. After about two minutes Julie returned and said she got a tech who said he would bring mom to the phone, so Julie transferred me to the line for the common room again.
The line in the common room rang for eight minutes — I watched the timer on my iPhone — and then I hung up and called Julie again.
Julie said she was sorry, of course, and asked me to hang on again while she checked.
After two more minutes, Julie returned and said that Nurse Rhonda (who is frequently on the day shift and is very responsible and competent but very short and gruff) told her that mom was asleep in her room, so she had no idea why a tech would have said he would bring her to the phone.
Julie suggested I call again at 11:45am (ET) because mom should be awake then for lunch for sure.
That’s a very, very typical chain of events for every time I have attempted to talk to mom for the last three months. It’s frustrating to the point that it is very easy to understand why someone would end up giving up and you realize why people in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are so often abandoned; it’s just so hard to get them on the phone. It’s insulting and disgusting and pathetic. […]